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Henry Prior Clark 







TO S. 


Chapter I. The New World Situation page ** 

II. The Problem of World Politics 15 

1. The Central Problem of World Politics 16 

2. World Unity and World Antagonism 25 

3. The General Crisis of Imperialism 31 

III. The Balance Sheet of Two Decades 38 

1. The Outcome of the War 38 

2. The Unstable Equilibrium of Revolution 

and Counter-Revolution 43 

3. The New Power-Relations After the War 53 

4. The Post-War Settlements 56 

5. Stabilisation and its Breakdown 64 

6. The Liquidation of the Post-War Settle- 

ments 72 

IV. The Rising Antagonisms of Capitalist 

World Economy 78 

1. The Myth of "International" Capitalism 86 

2. The War of the Monopolist Blocs and 

the Restriction of Production and Trade 93 

3. The Currency War: Sterling Dollar- 

Gold 100 

4. The Economics of War and Rearmament 107 

V. Attempts at World Organisation 115 

1. The Question of the "World State" 116 

2. The League of Nations 128 

3. World Pacts and Regional Pacts 150 

4. Collective Security 160 



VI. The Issue of the New Division of the World 170 

1. The Theory of the "Haves" and the 

"Have-Nots" 171 

2. Proposals for the Peaceful Re-division of 

Colonies or of Colonial Raw Materials 183 

VII. Main Areas of Conflict 204 

1. Japan, Britain and the United States in 

the Far East 205 

2. The United States and the Future of the 

British Empire 229 

3. The Fascist Revisionist Offensive 

(i) Italy 241 

4. The Fascist Revisionist Offensive 

(ii) Nazi Germany 249 

VIIL The Soviet Union and the World 271 

1. The Victory of Socialism in the Soviet 

Union 272 

2. The Fascist Imperialist Crusade Against 

the Soviet Union 285 

3. The Peace Policy of the Soviet Union 305 

IX. The Fight for Peace and the Future of 

World Organisation 317 

1. The Fight for Peace 318 

2. Towards the Future World Society 341 

Index 357 



Chapter I 

"Since the war the manifest forces of Satan have been been more 

conspicuously at large" 

RT. HON. STANLEY BALDWIN, addressing a Wesleyan Methodist meet- 
ing, The Times, February 22nd, 1926 

THE PRESENT DAY, in the midst of lowering international 
clouds on all sides, it is not necessary to emphasise the urgency 
of the problems of world politics. It is sufficiently clear to all 
that we are faced with questions which this generation must 
solve on pain of destruction. In every sphere, economic and 
political, antagonisms and conflicts are advancing to bursting- 

The whole world situation since 1914 is so profoundly new 
in every respect, the whole balance of forces is so completely 
changed from what existed before 1914, and is daily further 
changing, that we need, without illusions, without facile pre- 
conceptions, to take stock afresh of the issues of our epoch as 
they are developing to-day. 

The eighteen years since the Armistice are no closed period; 
every division is of necessity arbitrary, and every period is one 
of greater or less transition and change. The old pre-war issues 
have not vanished, but are merged and transformed into the 
post-war, and these in turn into those of to-day. Nevertheless, 
on a survey of the broad outlines of the world situation in 
1936, it is increasingly evident that all the issues of our epoch, 
which have been accumulating for nearly two decades since the 
ending of the war, are coming to a head in the period that is 
now opening. 


12 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

The settlements that followed the war have crumbled. Wash- 
ington has gone; Locarno has gone; the greater part of Ver- 
sailles has gone, except for the territorial and colonial settle- 
ments, and these are now the object of attack from the 
revisionist offensive. World economic stabilisation has dissolved 
since the world economic crisis. The League of Nations has re- 
vealed its weakness once anew over the Italo-Abyssinian war, 
following its demonstration of impotence before the war of 
Japan for the conquest of North China. All the questions of 
the future of world organisation, of war or peace, of interna- 
tional political relations, are thrown into the melting-pot. 

What is to follow the post-war order that the victorious im- 
perialist Powers sought to establish and that to-day is crumb- 
ling? Within imperialism the challenging, revisionist Powers, 
led by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Fascist-militarist Japan, 
drive forward their offensive. This issue dominates the world 
situation to-day. In place of the old, obsolete post-war issues of 
reparations and war debts, of reduction of armaments, etc., 
new questions occupy the centre of the stage to-day: questions 
of the so-called "Have" and "Have-Not" Powers, of the redis- 
tribution of colonies, of the distribution of colonial raw ma- 
terials, of revisionism and the status quo, of collective security 
and the localisation of war, of economic self-sufficiency, of re- 
armament. All these questions and slogans of the present day 
express with ominous clearness the advance of imperialism once 
again to war for the re-division of the world. 1914 solved 

The menace of new world war overhangs the present world 
situation. On all sides the world is felt to be drifting to ca- 
tastrophe without control; yet the majority of political leaders 
and statesmen have no solution to offer. What must be done? 
Can a new world war be prevented? How? This question tears 
at the hearts of the masses of the population in every country. 

The world situation is judged by many to resemble that on 
the eve of 1914. Yet in fact the differences are far-reaching. 
These differences are the outcome of the whole development 
of the two decades between, decades which in their rate of 
development are equivalent to centuries in previous times. 


These differences are not only in the relations of the imperial- 
ist Powers. They lie still more in the deeper social changes 
which are transforming the whole basis of existing society. 

The relations of capitalism and socialism have undergone 
a profound change with the establishment of the Soviet Union, 
and its building of the first socialist economy. The Soviet Union 
daily grows in strength and occupies now the position of the 
second world Power in economic-political weight. This is a 
situation to which previous history knows no parallel. On 
the basis of its growing strength the Soviet Union is able to 
exercise an increasing influence in world politics. The relations 
of the capitalist world and of the Soviet Union, and in par- 
ticular of the efforts of the reactionary and Fascist sections of 
imperialism to promote war against the Soviet Union, and of 
the Soviet Union to build up a world front for peace, raise 
far-reaching questions for the future. 

But this growing transformation in the relations of capital- 
ism and socialism is expressed also directly in the capitalist 
world. These two decades have produced a profound awaken- 
ing and growth of strength and consciousness in the working 
class through all the world-shattering events since 1914, an 
awakening which has affected also all the lower and middle 
strata of the population, and undermined the basis of the old 
social order. Capitalism in decay has turned increasingly to 
methods of violent reaction and repression, and in an increas- 
ing series of countries, to Fascist dictatorship to maintain its 
rule. This in turn has led to the growth of the working class 
united front and of the people's front in a series of countries. 
The battles of recent years in Austria, in France, in Spain, 
in Poland, as also in China, in India and in a series of South 
American countries, have shown that the world stands, not 
only on the eve of a menacing new world war, but also on 
the eve of a new series of revolutionary struggles, which are 
likely to lead to big transformations, and which may even in 
the most favourable conditions defeat the menace of a new 
world war, or else turn it rapidly to a different outcome. 

For this rise of new social forces extends not only to the 
capitalist countries of Western and Central Europe and Amer- 

14 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ica, but equally to the colonial and semi-colonial countries un- 
der the rule of imperialism. The colonial peoples are advanc- 
ing to throw off the imperialist yoke. Soviet China leads the 
-way in the establishment of a new form which equally knows 
no parallel in the world of 1914. The national revolutionary 
movement advances in China as a whole, in India, in the 
Near and Middle East, in Africa, in Central and South Amer- 
ica. The battalions of the overwhelming majority of the human 
race are in motion. 

The old dominant world social order, which found its 
culmination in the imperialist era since the beginning of the 
twentieth century, met its first shattering in the events that 
began with 1914, the catastrophe let loose by its own hand, 
and since then has found no peace or recovery. The year 1914 
sounded the historic signal for basic change from the old bank- 
rupt imperialist order to the new world socialist order. That 
change was begun in the events leading out of the first world 
war, but it was only begun. Over the greater part of the world 
the attempt was still made to rebuild the old. Therefore the 
old problems of the decaying order have had to recur to-day 
with a hundredfold redoubled force. This is the signal that 
calls us to new struggles. The great changes that were then 
begun, but only begun, have now to be carried through over 
the greater part of the world. 

We who are living to-day are faced with big issues in the 
coming years. They are world issues. We cannot cut down or 
limit our outlook from facing them, as they must be faced, on 
a world plane. The next twenty years are likely to be decisive 
for the future of the world and of world organisation. We 
need to be equipped and ready to meet them. 

Chapter II 


"Socrates said he was not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen 
of the world" 

PLUTARCH, On Banishment 

WHAT is THE SUBJECT-MATTER of "world politics*'? Why 
have the problems of world politics to-day become more urgent 
than at any previous time in history? 

In order to approach this question it will be easiest to 
begin with an illustration. 

In the beginning of 1936 a current report of the Air Corres- 
pondent of one of the leading London journals announced: 

"Aeroplanes built on the 'geodetic* principle as embodied 
in a new type of Air Force General Purposes machine, details 
of which were divulged a few days ago, will have so great a 
range that every capital in Europe will be within striking 
distance of bases in Great Britain. It follows that any part 
of Great Britain will be within range of air bases in countries 
whose frontiers are 1,500 miles away. 

"Although the 'Wellesley' General Purposes machine was 
not designed especially for bombing, it could, without sac- 
rifice of the load safety factor, fly 8,000 miles. It could carry 
a considerable load of bombs 2,000 miles, and return to its 
base, on one load of fuel. Thus in the European area en- 
compassed by its radius of effective action lie Leningrad, 
Moscow, Athens, Rome and Madrid." 

(Observer, January igth, 1936) 


16 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

The type of fact here illustrated is familiar to every reader. 
It may sound strangely in the ears of an inhabitant of the 
world a hundred years hence; but to us of the present day 
this and a hundred similar daily facts are the commonplace 
stuff of the world as we know it. It is, however, plain on a 
moment's reflection that this type of fact contains a sufficiently 
striking microcosm of the present world situation. 

The newest make of aeroplane, we learn, is able to cover 
in a single flight 8,000 miles, or one third the distance round 
the earth. The distance from the furthest point to the furthest 
point in Great Britain is 600 miles, in France 600 miles, in 
Germany 500 miles, and even in the continental expanse of 
the United States, roughly 4,000 miles. Truly it would appear 
that we are conquering space and overcoming the old national 
limitations and separations. In relation to modern transport 
the different countries of Europe are becoming like next-door 
back-gardens. Yet the thought to which this development im- 
mediately gives rise in a representative of modern civilization, 
such as the Air Correspondent of this London journal, is that 
it will now be possible to bomb towns 2,000 miles away. In 
particular, this British journal notes in the forefront of its 
examples that it will now be possible for British aeroplanes 
to bomb Leningrad and Moscow. 

If we wish to understand the reasons for this singular stage 
of human development which is illustrated in this example in 
the year 1936, we shall need to make a long journey. For the 
problem which this situation indicates is the underlying prob- 
lem of what is termed "world politics." 


The questions of world politics still often spoken of in 
the conventional localist idiom as "foreign politics" have 
increasingly occupied the forefront of attention during the 
past two decades. The unity and interdependence of the mod- 
ern world, the necessity of world organization these are com- 
monplaces of discussion. The first world war revealed in a 
very sharp form the consequences of the existing world anar- 


chy. The world anarchy is no new thing; it has continued its 
blind course throughout human history up to the present. 
But under modern technical and political conditions, with 
the extreme shrinkage of the world, it is increasingly recog- 
nized by all, including those who seek to defend and maintain 
the existing social order, that the continuance of this world 
anarchy is the law of destruction, and that, in the common 
phrase of these advocates as they see the situation, "another 
war would mean the end of civilisation." ("Who in Europe 
does not know that one more war in the West, and the civilisa- 
tion of the ages will fall with as great a shock as that of 
Rome?" Baldwin, January 8th, 1926). Nevertheless, these same 
advocates, in their capacity as political leaders and statesmen 
of the existing imperialist States, continue to press forward, 
and within the limits of their responsibilities see no alternative 
to pressing forward, preparations on a greater scale than ever 
before for another war, and pursue policies which, if con- 
tinued unchecked, can only finally make its outbreak certain. 

What is the reason for this seeming contradiction? To under- 
stand what lies behind this contradiction, it is necessary to 
come closer to the concrete realities of world politics. 

For the eighteen years since the ending of the war the lead- 
ing statesmen of the old world have proclaimed the aim of a 
new world order. New forms of world organisation have been 
attempted such as the League of Nations. Innumerable inter- 
national conferences have been held. Treaties, covenants, pacts, 
renunciations of war, disarmament negotiations, security guar- 
antees and international diplomatic documents of every kind 
stack the shelves of the Foreign Offices of the world (the staff 
of the British Foreign Office has increased from 183 in 1913 
to 766 in 1932, and already in 1932 it was reported that post- 
war pacts require more room on the shelves than the treaties 
of the preceding seventy years). Nor would it be correct to 
fail to recognise that in all the total situation of sharpened 
advance to war new elements and factors have also appeared 
which offer possibilities, even though under heavy limitations, 
of placing obstacles in the way of renewed war. 

Nevertheless, at the end of it all we have to ask the question; 

i8 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

What have we so far reached? If we compare 1913 with 1936 
we are compelled to say that in many respects the world situa- 
tion as a whole has sharpened and worsened. The year 1913 
is now often refeired to as if it had been a golden age, a 
standard in relation to which the existing decline in a whole 
series of spheres is measured. 

Take first the simplest barometer armaments. The head- 
long advance of the armaments race in the present stage is 
manifest. But indeed the whole post-war period, even before 
the present extreme spurt, has seen a more or less continuous 
heavy and increasing advance on pre-war level. Even the very 
incomplete official returns of world armaments expenditure 
show an increase from 5,531 million dollars in 1913 to 3,522 
millions in 1925 and 4,900 millions in 1934. Between 1913 
and 1930, according to the estimate issued by the Foreign Policy 
Association of New York, the armaments expenditure of the 
five leading Powers Britain, the United States, France, Italy 
and Japan measured in gold dollars, rose from 1,243 millions 
to 2,209 millions, or an increase of 78 per cent. The naval 
expenditure of the same five Powers, all signatories of the 
Washington 'limitation" Treaty, rose between 1912 and 1934 
from 105 millions to 191 millions, an increase of 86 mil- 
lions, or 82 per cent, as against an increase of 77 millions for 
the whole period, 1886-1912 (Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond, 
Sea Power in the Modern World). The German Bureau of 
Economic Research (Institut fur Konjunkturforschung) issued 
the following estimate of the relation of the totals of world 
armament expenditure and world production (index figures 
on the basis of 1928 as 100) between 1913 and 1932: 

World Armament 

Expenditure World Production 

1913 .. 64 .. .. 54 

1929 - .. 104 .. .. 104 

1930 .. .. 106 .. .. 87 
1932 .. .. 107 .. .. 56 

All this was before the collapse of the World Disarmament 
Conference, before the collapse of the Washington and London 


Naval Limitation Treaties, and before the new race initiated 
by German rearmament. 

But this heavy advance of the two decades, 1913-1933, is 
eclipsed by the headlong new "rearmament" race which has 
now set in and which daily gathers momentum. British ar- 
maments expenditure has risen from 104 millions in 1932 
to 160 millions in 1936, with 25 millions supplementary 
provision for additional expenditure, or an effective increase 
of 78 per cent in four years, apart from the prospects of a re- 
armament loan programme. United States armaments expen- 
diture has increased from 628 million dollars in 1933 to 1,161 
millions in 1936, or an increase of 85 per cent in three years. 
Japanese armaments expenditure has increased from 454 mil- 
lion yen in 1931 to 1,322 millions in 1936, or nearly a trebling 
in four years, reaching to an allocation of 58 per cent of the 
budget for war, apart from additional loan expenditure. Ger- 
man rearmament since Hitler, which has been the heaviest 
of all, remains secret. According to Churchill's estimate in 
the House of Commons on March loth, 1936, it has reached 
the colossal total of 1,500 millions in the first three years 
of the Hitler regime, 1933-35. Faced with these overwhelming 
war preparations and open war provocations of Germany and 
Japan on either side, the Soviet Union (which alone of the 
Powers has proposed total disarmament) has been compelled 
to raise its military expenditure from 5,000 million roubles 
in 1934 to 8,000 millions in 1935 and 14,800 millions in 1936, 
although these figures represent a lesser proportion of the 
total budget than in the case of other Powers. 

There is no mistaking where these armaments figures point. 

Armaments are, however, only the superficially and most 
easily obvious symptom of the present stage of the world situa- 

Turn to international political relations, which are reflected 
in armaments. Can we say that the situation shows an improve- 
ment on 1913? The pre-war system of the two clearly defined 
blocs of opposing Powers in Europe, the Triple Entente and 
the Triple Alliance, has not been reproduced in the present 
situation. But a hundred new causes of war have arisen all 

so WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

over the world. The Fascist revisionist war offensive, led by 
Germany, Italy and Japan, drives forward. Japan and Italy 
are already engaged in war. The menace of Nazi Germany hangs 
over Europe. The issues of war have extended beyond Europe 
with the triple antagonism of Britain, the United States and 
Japan in the Pacific, the far-reaching Anglo-American an- 
tagonism throughout the world, and the combined menace 
of war by Germany and Japan against the Soviet Union. 

It is true that a number of new factors have arisen in inter- 
national relations, such as the League of Nations, the attempts 
to realise collective security (a conception unknown in any 
generalised form in the world before 1914), the various peace 
pacts and regional security pacts, all of which reflect endeavours 
to arrest the advance to war, and even seek to do so along 
lines going considerably further than the Hague Conferences 
or Concert of Europe of the old pre-war period. Public con- 
cern on the questions of war or peace, and on the issues of 
foreign policy, is far more strongly aroused in all countries; 
and new forces have arisen on the side of the fight for peace, 
which it will be necessary to consider in fuller detail later. 
Nevertheless it is clear to all that the diplomatic attempts so 
far made to diminish the growing antagonisms or stem the 
advance to war have only revealed their weakness and inca- 
pacity to check war or the most flagrant aggression. The events 
of the past five years have shown the shattering of one instru- 
ment after another of the existing international political order. 
They have seen the unchecked Japanese offensive in the Far 
East, in defiance of the League of Nations, the Kellogg Pact 
or the Washington Treaties, carving up the living body of 
China and threatening extended war throughout Eastern 
Asia. They have seen the war of Bolivia and Paraguay in 
South America, equally unchecked, and fostered by arms and 
supplies from the leading Powers, until only the exhaustion 
of the combatants brought it to an end. They have seen the 
collapse of the World Disarmament Conference and of the 
World Economic Conference. They have seen the advance of 
Hitler to power in Germany and the open Nazi drive to war, 


casting its shadow across all the countries in Europe. They have 
seen the unchecked Italian spoliation of Abyssinia. And as a 
result of all these developments the present situation of inter- 
national tension is undoubtedly greater even than in 1914. 

In the pre-war period before 1914 sharp diplomatic crises 
of the major Powers in Europe, giving premonitions of future 
war, occurred in 1905, in 1908 and in 1911. But in the present 
period diplomatic crisis succeeds diplomatic crisis in almost 
unbroken succession, each further aggravating the situation and 
preparing the way for the next; and a British Prime Minister 
is able to speak of a "lull" in foreign affairs when he sees the 
possibility of a few weeks passing without a sharp interna- 
tional crisis. 

What of international economic relations? Here the break- 
down of the old stability of the pre-war era is even more glar- 
ing. Pre-war capitalism was characterised by the single world 
gold standard, which appeared to the men of that time as im- 
movable as a natural law, although in reality reflecting the 
temporary conditions of British financial world domination, 
by the unity of the world market and of world prices, by the 
extreme mobility of capital across frontiers, by a relative free- 
dom of migration within the European-American world, and 
by an almost continuously ascending level of production and 
of international trade. All these basic characteristics of the 
old stable capitalism have disappeared in the present period, 
and given place to extreme instability, the chaos of currencies, 
elaborate restrictions on trade and production, a heavy fall 
in the export of capital, lowered levels of international trade, 
intensified economic warfare and the tendencies of monopolist 
isolationism loosely spoken of as "national self-sufficiency" or 

Finally, in the sphere of internal politics, we see the extreme 
intensification of class antagonisms, reaching to the point of 
civil war in a number of countries, to revolutionary develop- 
ments of world significance in vast regions of the earth, to the 
simultaneous growth of counter-revolutionary and Fascist dic- 
tatorships for the maintenance of the existing dass rule in 

%2 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

other countries and in this way leading to the increased political 
disparateness of different groups of countries and the further 
intensification of world antagonisms. 

Thus the picture of the world to-day is the picture of a 
world in the throes of conflict in every sphere. On the face of 
it the conclusion might appear justified that the world situa- 
tion as a whole in the past two decades, in spite of all the con- 
trary efforts and propaganda for world unity and peace on a 
scale never before equalled, has moved further away than be- 
fore from world unity and peace towards increasing world 

What is the meaning of this process? Does it mean that the 
conception of world unity and of an ultimate ordered world 
society is a phantasm out of relation to realities? This is the 
conclusion of one school of thought, the traditional reactionary, 
Conservative or Fascist school, whose reading of history sees 
the law of the tiger as the inevitable ultimate law of human 
affairs. A typical expression of this outlook is to be found in 
the interview given by the aged Clemenceau shortly before his 
death (reprinted in Foreign Affairs for November 1928): 

"At one time I was to be numbered with those who held 
that the horrors of the world war from which we have 
emerged were such as would destroy for ever the lust of war 
in the breasts of European nations; but the more I ponder 
over things, the less am I inclined to take that view to-day. 
On the contrary, I believe that we have a long way to travel 
before we reach that goal, and I fear that the way is going 
to be covered with the bodies of the dead and wet with the 
tears and blood of millions. 

"How long it will take the nations of Europe to arrive at 
the conclusion that war is too deadly a weapon to be used, 
I cannot tell you, because I do not know. 

"If I thought that it were possible to rouse the public 
conscience of the world against war, I would devote the 
remaining hours of my life to working with men of good 
will of whatsoever nation in order to outlaw this our greatest 
curse for ever; but I am not subject to delusions." 


The logical completion of this outlook, which is in fact noth- 
ing but a completely conscious expression of the impotence of 
the bourgeoisie before the task of world organisation, is to be 
found to-day, not merely in the Fascist glorification of war for 
its own sake as a supposedly natural and eternal law, but still 
more in the practical working principles of the general staffs 
at the present day, as revealed in a study of current military 
literature. These principles have recently received their most 
naked, if insanely lucid, demonstration in LudenorfFs latest 
book, Totalitarian War (Der Totale Krieg, Munich, 1935). In 
this work the most brilliant strategist produced by modern im- 
perialism demonstrates that the next war will be a war for 
the extermination of whole peoples, and that therefore the 
entire activities and every waking moment of every man, 
woman and child must henceforth be directed and organised 
in preparation for this. Given the assumptions, the demonstra- 
tion is completely logical and lucid; the insanity is only the 
insanity of the final stage of world imperialism. 

Another school, a Liberal school, sees with mournful eyes 
the present period as a period of the disintegration of civilisa- 
tion and the return to barbarism. The Liberal publicist, L. S. 
Woolf, writes (in his Introduction to The Intelligent Man's 
Way to Prevent War): 

"During the war of 1914 to 1918 Europe took a big step 
on the road back to barbarism; in the years 1923 to 1933 it 
has taken another and even bigger step. . . . 

"What we are now witnessing and living though is a 
rebellion of all that is savage in us, of all the savages in 
our midst, against civilisation. The war was the first stage 
in this decline and fall of Western civilisation, and the 
shock which that war gave to the whole of our society 
offered an opportunity to the barbarians to carry their work 
of destruction a stage further. We are at present in the middle 
of this second stage. The barbarians are already in the ascen- 
dancy; they have broken through the frontiers of civilisa- 
tion and they are now destroying it from within." 

24 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

These melancholy speculations have their basis as a reflec- 
tion of the break-up and decay of the existing social order 
based on class domination (abstractly identified with "civilisa- 
tion" in general), and of the increasing violence and barbarism 
accompanying that decay, typically expressed in the anti-cul- 
tural crusades of Fascism. Where they fall short, however, as an 
adequate picture of the world situation to-day lies in the in- 
ability to see the new forces that are arising in the midst of 
the break-up and gaining strength in the battle, to solve the 
problems which the existing ruling class has failed to solve 
and carry forward human culture to new heights. 

The tendencies to pessimistic speculations on the present 
period of world history, whether on the part of traditionalist 
reactionaries, of the open Fascist barbarians, or of despondent 
Liberals, are widespread at present. They are the appropriate 
expression of the mood of a dying class. But they are of little 
practical value for understanding and meeting the problems 
of the present situation. The process of history is working 
itself out, through all the chaos and conflicts. The antagonisms 
are brought out into the open more sharply than ever before, 
in order that they may be resolved. The forces that can solve 
them are arising, are already visibly present and operating in 
the world situation. It is for all who are concerned for the 
future of human life and of human values to endeavour to 
understand the real forces of the world situation and their part 
in the world historical process. But this requires a revolution- 
isation of traditional modes of thought and outlook. 

The unification of the world, the growing interdependence 
and interrelation of human activity and development all over 
the world, are to-day becoming more and more a reality. This 
is a new chapter in human history. The unification of the world 
is in the first stage the work of capitalism. Capitalism creates 
the world market. As capitalism develops to imperialism, it 
draws the whole world still doser in a network of economic 
relations, even though these relations are still based on slavery 
and exploitation. But this unification of the world through 
capitalism is built on an antagonistic basis. The inner division 
of competitive anarchy and class subjection, which constitutes 


the heart of capitalism, is reproduced on a world scale. On 
the one side, the world unification is based on the subjection 
of the colonial majority of the human race to the rule of fi- 
nance-capital. On the other side, world imperialism consists 
of a series of warring monopolist groups, each seeking dom- 
ination and expansion at the expense of the rest. Hence, while 
capitalism has laid the basis for world unity, and while in 
consequence the conception of world unity has now become 
possible and widely current in all circles including among many 
of the leading statesmen and thinkers of the existing ruling 
class, capitalism by its own inner law is incapable of realising 
world unity. This the whole present period of world history is 
demonstrating. In consequence it remains for the new social 
order which is succeeding capitalism to realise the world unity 
for which capitalism has laid the basis. 

The problem of world politics is the problem of collective 
world organization. But the conditions for the solution of this 
problem require further definition. 


The shrinkage of the world in the most recent period has 
become a familiar topic. The process which began a century 
and a half ago with the development of steam power has been 
enormously accelerated by all the scientific and technical de- 
velopments of the last two decades. 

This is not only a question of transport and communications, 
whose acceleration, as well as extension by new means through- 
out the world, has transformed world relations, and will ulti- 
mately assist to destroy the basis of regional separatism in the 
new era in the same way as the development of railways in the 
nineteenth century assisted the destruction of the old parochial- 
ism and the consolidation of the modern centralised States. 

It is also a question of the whole scale of production in 
relation to world resources, world areas and world population. 
Despite the existence of contrary tendencies of extreme sig- 
nificance, the concentration and organisation of large-scale 
production in the hands of a diminishing number of giant 

26 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

enterprises controlling vastly augmented productive forces has 
gone enormously forward in the post-war period. 

The modern mammoth concerns such as the German Steel 
Trust (formed in 1926 with a capital of 72 millions), the 
German Dyestuffs Trust (formed in 1925 with a capital of 
60 millions), Imperial Chemical Industries in Britain (formed 
in 1928 with a capital of 60 millions), Unilever (formed in 
1929, and controlling companies with a capital of 200 mil- 
lions), or Vickers-Armstrong (formed in 1925, and controlling 
with subsidiaries a capital of 78 millions), as well as such 
previously existing trusts as the United States Steel Corpora- 
tion (formed in 1901 with $1,370 millions capital, and in 1925 
.employing 249,000 workers as against 168,000 in 1902), or 
the two rival world oil monopolies of America and Britain, 
have carried forward and to-day far exceed in their total scope 
and range of their operations and world influence their pre- 
war prototypes. To-day the twenty or so largest trusts of world 
imperialism hold a far more preponderant position in world 
economic life and a far more complete and all-pervading in- 
fluence on the policies of their respective States than was the 
situation even in the highly developed imperialism of before 
the war. 

Further, the State in all the leading capitalist countries in 
the post-war period has become more and more closely iden- 
tified with the whole field of economic organisation, actively 
promoting the organisation of trusts and combinations in every 
industry, and directly associating itself through legislative 
forms, statutory control, direct shareholding, subsidies and 
financial backing, and interlocking directorates, with the 
trusts, thus leading more and more to the type of State capital- 

These gigantic concerns of modern rationalised industry 
require ever expanding world areas for their effective func- 
tioning. But here they strike against the existing State boun- 
daries, which are in fact only the reflection of rival monopolist 
groupings. The consequent ever sharpening and ceaselessly re- 
newed conflict for the redivision of the world, by economic 
weapons, by State legislative weapons, by diplomatic weapons 


and finally by armed warfare, which is in essence the reflection 
of the conflict of the enlarged world productive forces against 
the existing social and political forms, is the crux of world 

For the growing concentration, and enlargement of the scale, 
of capitalist organisation is not only a concentration of capital 
and of companies, but at the same time, through the consequent 
concentration and large-scale organisation of production, and 
the consequent enlarged possibility for the utilisation of accel- 
erated scientific and technical development, drives forward to 
unlimited expansion of production, which in turn constantly 
breaks against the barriers of the existing social and political 
forms. It is impossible to measure the gigantic growth of the 
productive forces in the post-war period, because these very 
limitations, which received their classic demonstration in the 
world economic crisis, with the consequent slowing of the 
whole rate of advance and artificial restriction of production, 
have meant that the full extent of these forces has never been 
used. But some indication can be gathered from the period 
1925-1929, the short period of temporary stabilisation, when 
the process of rationalisation and expansion was proceeding 
full speed ahead. In those four years German industrial pro- 
duction expanded 25 per cent, United States 15 per cent, 
French 30 per cent, Belgian 35 per cent, Canadian 40 per cenL 
The example of the Soviet Union has subsequently shown how 
overwhelmingly even these figures of expansion could be ex- 
ceeded, if the fetters of capitalist relations of production were 
removed. But even this expansion was too much for the 
capitalist world. The crash followed. 

The expansion of world production, even within the cap- 
italist fetters and omitting the Soviet Union from the totals, 
has far exceeded the growth of world population. Already by 
1925, despite all the destruction through the war, world pro- 
duction had increased in 1913 by 18 per cent, as against a 
growth in world population by 6 per cent (Sir Arthur Salter, 
Recovery, p. 23). In the subsequent years, 1925-1929, the ex- 
pansion was still more rapid. Between 1913 and 1928, while 
world population increased by 10 per cent, world production 

28 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

of foodstuffs and raw materials increased by 25 per cent and 
world industrial production by a still greater proportion 
("Memorandum on Production and Trade 1923 to 1928-9," 
League of Nations, 1930, p. 9). It is important to note that 
this expansion applied not only to industrial production, but 
to raw materials and foodstuffs. Thus the growth of world 
wheat production, excluding Russia, advanced from 3,004 
million bushels as the average of 1909-1913 to 3,475 millions 
as the average of 1924-1928, and 3,915 millions in 1928, or an 
advance of 30 per cent, as against an advance of 9 per cent in 
world population; it was brought down the following year by 
artificial restriction to 3,380 millions ("Wheat Studies" of 
the Food Research Institute of Stanford University, California, 
January 1930). The world economic crisis was especially symp- 
tomatic of the present stage of the world situation in that it 
was a crisis of simultaneous over-production of foodstuffs, raw 
materials and industrial goods. 

It is thus abundantly clear that there is no world "over- 
population." The plea of "over-population," of the "pressure 
of rising population on natural resources," etc., which is com- 
monly put forward by reactionary and imperialist schools of 
thought as the natural and God-given cause of the drive to 
expansion and war, has demonstrably no basis in world facts, 
that is, in the physical and technical facts of world resources 
and world production. The alleged "over-population" of par- 
ticular countries is in the first place relative to the social rela- 
tions within those countries, and is finally (the second is in 
reality the reflection and consequence of the first) relative to 
the existing system of division of the unity of world economy. 
On a world scale the advance of the productive forces and 
even of actual production far outstrips the advance of popula- 

Potentially, then, we have all the conditions present for 
world abundance and for immeasurable advance for every in- 
habitant o the globe. For the actual expansion of production 
bears no relation to the potential expansion which could be 
achieved, if the existing fetters were removed, if world unity 


were achieved, if the world schemes which are already in the 
minds of engineers and scientists could be realised. 

But instead, what is the actual picture of the world? We 
see in the first place antagonistic relations within each country 
of the imperialist world, and we see these antagonistic rela- 
tions reproduced on a larger canvas in the world as a whole. 

The world as a whole is divided into a series of independent 
sovereign States, nominally of some sixty to seventy sovereign 
States, actually, beneath this juridical form, into a handful 
of great Power-groupings with their dependencies and satellites, 
each maintaining its independence of action and recognising 
no common law. It is true that there exists a vast body of what 
is termed "international law"; but this bloodless caricature 
lacks the first essential foundation of law in capitalist society, 
the existence of a sovereign power capable of enforcing it, and 
in reality is no more than a codification of existing practice of 
minor matters of intercourse between nations, or practices of 
war, so far as the sovereign participants find it in their interests 
to maintain these, without validity save by the will of the 
sovereign participants, and impotent before all major conflicts. 

The relationship between these Powers is one of ceaseless 
conflict, sometimes breaking out into open war, at other times 
veiled beneath the forms of diplomacy. But as a modern acute 
observer of political realities has remarked, "Diplomacy is 
potential war" (R. G. Hawtrey, Economic Aspects of Sover- 
eignty, 1930, p. 107). 

The State frontiers or the frontiers of the power-groupings 
are essentially dosed frontiers, or hedged round with ever 
more complicated forms of monopolist restrictions, only raising 
the barbed wire in particular directions in order to make 
partial alliances against third parties. 

The resulting economic picture of the world is one of ex- 
treme disorganisation cutting across and thwarting the develop- 
ment of world economy. This disorganisation and its harmful 
consequences are manifest even to the bourgeoisie in its super- 
ficial aspect of tariffs, import restrictions, quotas, etc., strangling 
international economic intercourse. But in fact the real world 

go WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

economic disorganisation lies deeper, in the whole conflict of 
the monopolist relationships, and in the relations between 
imperialism and the colonial countries, forcing vast territories 
of the earth with magnificent natural resources of coal, iron, 
steel and the means of power, into backward agrarian areas 
at an almost stationary primitive level, and preventing the 
development of wealth which would raise the level of exis- 
tence of the whole world. 

The life of the overwhelming majority of the world's popu- 
lation is lived at a low and brutish level, with a ceaseless and 
grinding poverty which is no longer justified by natural causes. 
While the most highly developed apparatus of large-scale pro- 
duction is maintained in the imperialist centres (in a con- 
siderable proportion, idle), the majority of the world's popu- 
lation is compelled to live at a primitive level of small-scale 
production with little and poor equipment, at the same time 
as the modern plant for the production of machinery cannot 
find scope for its potential output, and with the death of 
millions every year from starvation and under-nourishment, 
at the same time as the means of life are being destroyed. 

Over all hangs the continual menace of war, ceaselessly 
breaking out in one quarter or another of the world, absorbing 
the energies and the surplus of the most highly developed 
countries in the destructive work of its preparation, and threat- 
ening to develop into renewed world war in the near future. 

What is the reason for this situation of the world? What 
must be done to change it? This problem beats at the heads 
of our generation. In fact this problem of world disorganisa- 
tion is only one aspect and expression of the deeper problem 
of social relationships, of the basic contradictions of class- 
society. But this contradiction of world disorganisation is so 
manifest and glaring that it strikes at the imagination of all 
even more sharply than the inner social and political prob- 
lems, and compels all to recognise the necessity of some solu- 

It is easy to denounce the existing State forms and political 
divisions, and to proclaim the necessity of a "world State." 
This approach remains abstract, Utopian and valueless (and 


even potentially harmful and in the final resort an assistance 
to world imperialism) if it does not attempt to grapple with 
the real conditions of the problem, to understand the reasons 
for the existing situation, the real forces which maintain the 
existing system in the face of the obvious interests of the human 
race as a whole, and the consequent indispensable conditions 
for realising the task of world organisation. 

For the existing State divisions, disorganisation and antag- 
onisms cannot be regarded as an obsolete survival from the 
pre-imperialist era, to be ultimately lopped off by the "en- 
lightenment" of the modern imperialist world. On the contrary, 
in the era of industrial capitalism the intensity of these divi- 
sions appeared as diminishing, and on this ground arose the 
illusory hopes of a universal international free trade era of 
peace and prosperity through capitalism which found wide 
expression in the middle nineteenth century. But in our period, 
the period of imperialism, the intensity of these divisions and 
antagonisms, the height of the economic barbed-wire fences 
on the frontiers, the growth of tendencies to isolationism and 
the formation of closed-in blocs, and the scale of wars and 
armaments expenditure, have enormously increased and are 

It is therefore abundantly evident that we are dealing here, 
not with vanishing survivals of a previous era, but with the 
real governing forces of the present still dominant world order 
of our period, with the forces of imperialism. If this reality is 
not faced, the approach to a world outlook can only remain 
in the realm of abstract fantasy. We must grapple with and 
conquer the forces of imperialism, if they are not to destroy 
us. This is the truth which confronts our generation. We must 
grapple with and conquer the forces of imperialism if we are 
to approach the tasks of world organisation. 


At the outset, in order to approach these questions, we need 
to define more closely the essential characteristics of the present 

32 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

It is only a relatively short space of time of three and a half 
decades since the era of fully constituted imperialism opened 
at the beginning of the twentieth century with the more or 
less complete division of the available territories of the earth 
between a handful of leading Powers, representing highly 
concentrated finance-capitalist groupings. 

From the outset the era of imperialism was revealed as 
highly unstable and in marked contrast to the relative solidity 
of the previous era of industrial capitalism. A chain of wars, 
through the British war in South Africa, the inter-imperialist 
occupation of Pekin, the Russo-Japanese war, the Italian war 
in Tripoli, and the two Balkan wars, as well as of sharp inter- 
national clashes, notably in 1905, in 1908 and in 1911, and 
of an intense armaments race on a scale never before ap- 
proached, marked its course to the culminating conflagration 
of 1914. 

What underlay this extreme instability and sharpening 
conflict of the imperialist era, which to-day, so far from being 
solved by the blood-letting of 1914, has advanced to an even 
more accentuated stage? The cause is to be found in the uneven 
development of capitalism, which is carried to a very much 
higher stage in the period of imperialism. 

The enormously enlarged productive powers of the great 
trust groupings, and the rising capital accumulations seeking 
outlet, imperiously demand continuous expansion and mon- 
opolist domination of the maximum area as the condition of 
their successful functioning. During the last quarter of the 
nineteenth century this process led to the rapid acquisition of 
the remaining easily seizable territories of the earth, as shown 
in the African scramble; between 1876 and 1900 the propor- 
tion of African territory held by the European Powers expanded 
from one-tenth to nine-tenths. 1 But with the completion of 

*"As regards aggression the years 1870-98 are only equalled by the 
age of Ghenghis Khan. Between 1870 and 1900 Great Britain acquired 
4,754,000 square miles of territory, adding to her population 88,000,000 
people: between 1884 and 1900 France acquired 3,583,580 square miles 
and 36,553,000 people; and in these same years Germany, a bad last, 
gained 1,026,220 square miles and 16,687,100 people/' MAJOR-GENERAL 
j, F, c. FULLER, War and Western Civilisation, 1933, p, 134. 


this first scramble and division of the world, and with the 
absence of any more "unoccupied" territories to seize (i.e. 
occupied only by undeveloped populations without effective 
arms to defend themselves), the struggle inevitably advances to 
a new stage. This stage is characterised by the competitive con- 
flict of the imperialist Powers over the already divided world, 
for the conquest or penetration of territories under already 
recognised sovereignty, for the partition of China, for the 
partition of the Turkish Empire, for the economic penetration 
of South America (direct political conquest being excluded by 
the United States domination expressed in the Monroe Doc- 
trine), and for the reconquest or penetration of one another's 
colonies. This is the conflict for the re-division of the world 
which is the characteristic conflict of imperialism. For the 
development of the various finance-capitalist groupings and 
industrial Powers takes place at uneven rates, according to the 
historical conditions and stage in each case, and does not cor- 
respond at any moment to the existing division of the world, 
reflecting the consequences of a previous stage of development. 
Hence arises sharpening economic conflict against the barriers 
of monopolist control, culminating in the endeavour to batter 
through the barriers by military force. This is the central 
dynamic of imperialism and of imperialist war. 

The dynamic, expanding forces of capitalism in the pre- 
1914 period were represented above all by Germany, and the 
forces in possession by the British Empire. Germany and Italy 
had alike come late to the colonial scramble. The British 
Empire had been in the forefront in adding to its already 
enormous possessions; France and Tsarist Russia had also 
secured very considerable spoils. But the young German cap- 
italism was expanding far more rapidly than any other in 
Europe, and was already by the latter part of the nineteenth 
century overtaking and outstripping British capitalism in the 
decisive domain of heavy industry, and in technical organisa- 
tion and efficiency. By the twentieth century the economic 
challenge passed into the naval challenge and the open colonial 
demand. The British Empire gathered its forces to smash 
the rising and challenging rival. Around this central Anglo- 

34 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

German antagonism gathered all the manifold economic, 
political, national and racial conflicts of the period. The 
British Empire found its allies in the other Powers in posses- 
sion, France and Tsarist Russia. Germany could only find its 
allies in the other dissatisfied Power, Italy (which was, how- 
ever, ready to be bought off by a mercenary offer from the other 
side), in the threatened Austro-Hungarian Empire and in the 
equally threatened Turkish Empire. 

Many efforts were made to avert the visibly impending 
conflict. Echoes of the cries of the present day can be found 
in those critical years before 1914. There was talk of the 
effeteness and decline of the British Empire, which neverthe- 
less showed itself well able to spin a diplomatic web in defence 
of its interests and to strike a ruthless blow in the moment of 
crisis. There was talk of the necessity to meet the colonial de- 
mands of the rising dissatisfied Powers. Attempts were made 
to devise international diplomatic machinery through the 
Hague Conferences for the averting of war. Negotiations were 
pursued for armaments holidays alongside the rising armaments 
race which was deplored by the statesmen of all sides. Attempts 
were made to preach to the capitalists that war was not in their 
interests, and that a peaceful joint exploitation of the earth 
would be far more in their true interests. Negotiations were 
entered into by the statesmen of England and Germany for 
an attempted harmonious solution of the colonial problem, 
for the transfer of Portuguese colonies, for an Anglo-German 
colonial agreement in the Middle East. All these efforts to 
find a peaceful solution within the conditions of imperialism 
proved unavailing to prevent the final armed conflict, which 
already came close to breaking out in 1905 and again in 1911, 
and finally broke out in 1914. 

The war of imperialism proved more deadly than any pre- 
vious war in history. For the first time the entire populations 
and economy of States were drawn into the highly organised 
war machine. The total number of deaths, military and civilian, 
caused by the first world war of imperialism ran into tens of 
millions (4i,435 ooo > according to the carefully worked out 
estimate of the Inter-Parliamentary Union of Enquiry in 1931, 


or roughly one in forty of the population of the earth). Far- 
reaching social and political convulsions followed, resulting 
in the collapse of the empires in Eastern and Central Europe. 
The most important of these consequences of the war was the 
Russian Revolution, which led to the victory of the new social- 
ist Soviet regime over one-sixth of the earth and its withdrawal 
from the sphere of imperialism. 

The revolutionary wave which closed and followed the war 
spread in varying degree over the whole of the world, but 
finally conquered only in Russia. In the rest of the world the 
rule of capitalism was maintained or restored, although no 
longer with the old stability. The first breach in the world 
order of capitalism had been made; henceforth socialism had 
a world base, which maintained itself against all assaults. In 
the other countries also the new issues arising from the general 
crisis of capitalism and the opening of the world revolution 
underlay the older political forms, and ever and again came 
to the surface. The collapse of the attempts at restoration and 
stabilisation of capitalism after the pre-war model was revealed 
in the world economic crisis which developed eleven years 
after the war and led to intensified social and political conflicts. 
In a growing series of countries, of which the most important 
were Italy and later Germany, recourse was had to extra- 
ordinary measures of Fascist dictatorship to maintain the exist- 
ing system of class rule. 

In the sphere of imperialist relations the war brought no 
solution. Victory had fallen to the superior resources of the 
Powers already in possession, and not to the rising forces. 
The victor Powers used their victory to add to their already 
extensive possessions, and to endeavour to cripple and strike 
down permanently their challenging rivals. In consequence 
the disproportion was enormously increased, while the attempt 
to hold down permanently the rising forces failed. The treaties 
of spoliation which followed the war laid the seeds of future 
war. At the same time new conflicts in the extra-European 
sphere came to the forefront. In consequence, within two 
decades of the war of 1914 the issue of the re-division of the 
world had arisen anew in still sharper form. 

36 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Thus we come to the characteristic features of the present 

First, the issue of the new division of the world is now 
definitely in the forefront, alike in respect of colonial terri- 
tories, of the revision of frontiers in Europe, and of the dis- 
tribution of power between the main States; war has already 
begun, not yet on a world scale, but on a regional scale, in- 
volving world issues; while the general tension and approach 
to war exceed 1914. 

Second, in the economic sphere, the world economic crisis, 
after continuing with an extent and duration without parallel, 
has slowly given place to a peculiar new situation, no longer of 
the normal return to prosperity and a renewed boom at a 
higher level of production and trade than the preceding, but 
of extreme instability and inequality of conditions, both na- 
tionally and internationally, of partial and incomplete re- 
covery at a low level and accompanied by continuing mass 
unemployment, of low and restricted international trade, of 
continuing currency instability, of intensified economic war- 
fare, and a sinister and notable feature of the present phase 
of the relatively increased importance of the armaments in- 
dustries and of preparation for war. All this holds out no 
prospect of a harmonious solution, but reveals ever more 
sharply the bankruptcy of the existing economic order and 
the increasing conflict of the productive forces against the 
fetters of existing capitalist class-ownership. 

Third, in the inner political sphere, the whole structure 
of existing State forms is thrown into question by the sharp- 
ening battle between Fascism and the popular forces fighting 
for the defence of democratic rights and for the advance to 
socialist forms this constituting the typical expression of the 
present stage of struggle between the existing capitalist rule 
and the socialist revolution. 

Fourth, the division of the world between capitalist domina- 
tion over five-sixths of its surface, and socialism over one-sixth, 
has now reached an extreme point of contrast, with the rela- 
tive retrogression of capitalist production and headlong advance 


of socialist production, raising sharp questions of the future 
relationship of the capitalist and socialist worlds. 

Fifth, the International Labour Movement has reached a 
turning of the ways: the old reformist illusions have received a 
shattering blow by the experience of the world economic crisis 
and of Fascism; a strong impetus has developed to unity in the 
common struggle against Fascism and reaction; but the further 
path of that struggle is still uncleared, and the whole question 
of the path to socialism is now raised in its most critical form 
for the workers in Western Europe and America. 

Sixth, the colonial peoples are in movement, alike in Asia 
and in Africa: the Chinese struggle for national unity and lib- 
eration against the policies of partition goes forward; the In- 
dian struggle for liberation is gathering force; the Middle East 
is in ferment; Abyssinia has been fighting the foreign invader; 
all Africa is stirring. This not only opens out a new perspective 
for the colonial and semi-colonial peoples, constituting the 
majority of the human race, to advance from the passive to the 
active instruments of history; but this in its turn reacts upon 
and undermines the basis of imperialism in the remaining 
countries and the consequent social-political structure built 
upon that basis. 

These are only some of the issues that are to-day clamouring 
for solution. It is necessary to see them in their relations and 
development as parts of a single world process. For it is only in 
this light, on the basis of such a many-sided understanding of 
all the forces of our epoch, that we shall be able to approach 
and master the central problems of world politics. 

Chapter III 


"I believe that men are beginning to see, not perhaps the golden 
age, but an age which at any rate is brightening from decade to 
decade, and will lead us some time to an elevation from which 
we can see the things for which the heart of mankind is longing" 
PRESIDENT WILSON, speech at Manchester, 

December 3ist, 1918 

"Seventeen years of conflict, interrupted only by brief and incom- 
plete truces, has reduced almost the whole of the Continent to 
a state of economic ruin and social disorganisation which has no 
parallel since the Thirty Years War." 

FRANK H. SIMONDS, "Can Europe Keep the Peace?" 1931 

JL HE FIRST FACT to recognise about the eighteen years since 
the Armistice is that none of the world problems set by history 
since 1914 has been solved, most have been intensified, and 
many new ones have been added, while the greater part of the 
"settlements" which followed the war have either already 
broken down or are in process of breaking down. 


The war of 1914 was inevitable in the sense that imperialism 
could find no other solution for its conflicts. The inescapable 
driving force of growing capitalist concentration and accumu- 
lation, and the consequent dynamic of the continual hunt for 
new profits on the part of the antagonistic groupings, compelled 
it. There could be no peaceful solution, that is to say, no equal 
division of the spoils, because of the inequality of capitalism 



and the unequal rate o capitalist development. German iron 
and steel production was advancing, British declining; Britain 
held the majority of colonial possessions; Germany with a more 
rapidly developing capitalism was late in the field. In these 
conditions, a hundredfold multiplied for all the complexities 
of the different fields of capitalism and the different Powers, 
there could be no permanent ratio. Each section had to fight for 
itself. Each statesman and diplomatist had to fight for his own 
group or lose his position; each captain of an industrial com- 
bine had to fight for the profits of his own shareholders or lose 
his; each editor of a newspaper had to fight for the interests of 
his own Power-grouping or lose his. No statesman or capitalist 
can think for capitalism as a whole, save for the immediate 
fight against the revolution (and even there with heavy limita- 
tions and internal conflicts continually breaking the front); 
if they could, they would cease to be capitalists. Not the particu- 
lar ambition or intrigue of this or that individual or group (the 
majority of whom probably did not directly will the war in the 
f orm or at the moment it broke out, but only willed the particu- 
lar advantages to their side which made it inevitable), but the 
inexorable collective outcome of their individual wills, which 
in the aggregate only reflected the existing social forces of cap- 
italism that they did not themselves understandthis was the 
real "origin of the war" (about which rival professors and pub- 
licists in the service of one or another group so long consumed 
reams of paper with profitless discussions in terms of this or that 
diplomatic document to establish points favourable or unfav- 
ourable to this or that individual or group). 

The outbreak of the war of 1914 revealed that the world 
forces unloosed by imperialism had fully outstripped the con- 
trol of the statesmen of imperialism. All the calculations of the 
rival statesmen and general staffs were defeated by the event, 
and the war was rapidly revealed as an independent force 
which had passed beyond all possibility of control. The states- 
men on either side had calculated on a short war and a speedy 
settlement, which, with whatever gains to be registered for 
either side, would not impair the foundations of imperialism. 
The German Chancellor, Betbmann-Hollweg, had declared at 

40 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

the outset of the war (quoted in Admiral Sir Herbert Rich- 
mond's Sea Power in the Modern World, p. 251): 

"It will be a violent storm, but very short. I count on a 
war of three or at most four months, and I have organised all 
my policy on that assumption." 

Sir Edward Grey had already declared in 1906 (letter to Sir 
Francis Bertie, January i5th, 1906, British Documents on the 
Origin of the War, Volume III), that in the event of a Franco- 
German conflict Britain would fight on the side of France, and 
that in that case 

"We should risk little or nothing on land, and at sea we 
might shut the German fleet up in Kiel and keep it there 
without losing a ship or a man or even firing a shot." 

With this may be compared the famous miscalculation of his 
speech on August grd, 1914, in the House of Commons: 

"With our trade intact, and our commerce secure, we 
should be very little worse off in the war than out of it." 

All these calculations were smashed by the realities. The war, 
once begun, drove forward with its own murderous logic, and 
drew all the statesmen of imperialism in its train. Imperialism, 
which could find no solution for its problems of peace save war, 
could in turn find no solution of the problem of the war. As the 
war, after the first rapid movements, settled down into a stale- 
mate of positions and dragged on in an ever-prolonged destruc- 
tive deadlock or struggle of attrition, the elder statesmen of im- 
perialism on both sides, anxiously foreseeing the prospect of a 
collapse of the existing social order, sought to find a way out by 
patching up a hasty status quo settlement. This outlook was ex- 
pressed in the letter of the veteran Lord Lansdowne in Novem- 
ber 1916 (not published till a year later), arguing that the war's 
"prolongation will spell ruin for the civilised world/' and that 


it must "be brought to a close in time to avert a world-wide 
catastrophe"; in the Emperor Karl's similar declaration in the 
same month; in the signs of readiness of the Asquith Cabinet to 
negotiate in December 1916, which led to its replacement by 
Lloyd George; in the German Peace Note of the same month; 
in the President Wilson Peace Note a week later; in the Wilson 
"Peace Without Victory" speech of January 1917 ("it must be a 
peace without victory; victory would mean peace forced upon 
the loser; it would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, 
and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon 
which terms of peace would rest not permanently but only as 
upon quicksand"), and in the Austrian peace negotiations of 
the spring of 1917 with the accompanying Count Czernin mem- 
orandum ("the basis of my argument is the danger of revolu- 

But the forces let loose by the war could not be so easily 
chained anew in the interests of the preservation of the old or- 
der. Every imperialism was staking its all upon victory. The 
voices of prudence of the more experienced and far-seeing lead- 
ers of imperialism were stifled. This was no eighteenth-century 
"Cabinet war" to be conducted by rule and to end in an in- 
trigue. It was a jungle-fight for survival between the tiger States 
of modern imperialism. The policy of the Knock-Out Blow cor- 
rectly expressed the governing forces of the imperialist epoch. 
Lloyd George conquered in Britain. Clemenceau conquered in 
France. Ludendorff, von Tirpitz and the line of unrestricted 
submarine warfare conquered in Germany. Imperialism added 
another link to the chain of its doom. 

The Gordian knot of the war, which imperialism was unable 
to loose, was finally cut by the sword of the revolution. The 
world war ended, as it could only end, as international socialism 
had prophesied from the outset that it would end, in revolu- 
tion. The uprising of the masses against the bloody and useless 
slaughter to which they were being sent by their masters in the 
name of the divine right of profits cut short the war machine at 
the moment in which it was rising to its highest tempo in prep- 
aration for the campaigns of 1919, already elaborately planned 
by the staffs on both sides. The Russian Revolution ended the 

42 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

war in the East. The German Revolution ended the war in the 


The numerical and material superiority of the Allies through 
the accession of America, which finally secured them the vic- 
tory, was itself the reflection of the revolution. It was the Rus- 
sian Revolution of March 1917, with the consequent inevi- 
table prospect of Russian withdrawal from the war and menace 
of Allied collapse, which was the decisive motive cause behind 
the American entry into the war, within four weeks of the Rus- 
sian Revolution, to safeguard its interests already heavily mort- 
gaged on the side of the Allies. In March 1917 were despatched 
the urgent cables of Ambassador Page to Wilson on the immedi- 
ate necessity of American military intervention as the only way 
to save the gigantic economic and financial stake placed by the 
American profiteers on the side of the Allies; and there followed 
the sudden reversal of policy by Wilson, in complete contradic- 
" tion to his "peace without victory" line of a few months pre- 
viously, and declaration of war in April 1917. This tipping of 
the balance on the side of the Allies in turn hastened the mili- 
tary d^b^cle in Germany and the consequent acceleration of 
the German Revolution. 

From this point, with the beginning of the world revolution 
and the breaking of the imperialist chain at its weakest link in 
Russia, and with the extension of the revolution to Central 
Europe, already undermined by four years of war and blockade, 
and of revolutionary struggles in varying degrees to the ma- 
jority of countries, the whole world situation was transformed. 
The issue of the world revolution began increasingly to over- 
shadow the old issues of the war, and to dominate the minds of 
statesmen. The imperialist war dissolved into counter-revolu- 
tionary wars, interventionist wars and civil war. 

From this point the history of the world passes into two 
halves the history of the capitalist world and of the socialist 



What was to follow the ruinous experience of the world war, 
the first great warning of the bankruptcy of the existing order? 

At the close of the war, in 1918-1919, a great choice confront- 
ed mankind, and especially the peoples of Europe. It is neces- 
sary to delay a little on this choice; because here is the great 
watershed, the dividing point, whose consequences have gone to 
make the modern world and the problems we have to meet to- 

Either the peoples of the leading countries could go forward 
along the path of the world socialist revolution, through the 
overthrow of capitalist rule which had brought the world to 
ruin and now lay shaken and open to assault, and on the basis 
of the working-class conquest of power or dictatorship of the 
proletariat, in alliance with the peasantry and lower middle 
class, rapidly build up the new socialist order in unity and 
peace, healing the wounds of the war and opening a new his- 
torical epoch of limitless material and cultural advance. 

Or they could hark back to the attempted restoration of the 
pre-war order, listen once again to the voice of imperialism 
which now in the moment of danger, through the honeyed ac- 
cents of a Wilson, was all penitence for the past and full of 
golden "democratic" and even "socialistic" promises for the fu- 
tureand return to subjection to capitalist rule, with the conse- 
quences of renewed imperialist conflicts, a victor peace, intensi- 
fied exploitation and the renewal of the drive to war and to 

Wilson or Lenin in this form the issue was widely presented 
at that time. Wilson represented the path of bourgeois demo- 
cratic reform, while maintaining the essence of imperialism and 
the class-ownership of the means of production; the proclama- 
tion of the aim of national self-determination, while maintain- 
ing colonial subjection and in fact also in Europe subordinating 
national considerations to strategic imperialist aims; and the 

44 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

proclamation of the aim of world peace, while in fact leaving 
the sovereignty of the rival imperialist Powers intact in a loose 
association or League of Nations. The inner contradictions of 
these aims were rapidly demonstrated in the outcome at Ver- 
sailles and after, in the impotence of Wilson in the toils of 
European diplomacy and his repudiation by the United States, 
and his final bitter disillusionment before his death. It is diffi- 
cult for many to realise to-day how the name of Wilson for a 
short spell at that critical turning-point of history was on the 
lips of men like the name of a new Christ, representing the 
supposed alternative of peace and progress and a new world 
order to the supposed terrors of Bolshevism, so rapidly did he 
sink from this apotheosis to the pity and indifference of the 
world. 1 

The path of Lenin was the path of the people's mass revolu- 
tion against imperialism, of the dictatorship of the proletariat 
in the imperialist countries and of the democratic dictatorship 
of the workers and peasantry in the colonial and backward 
countries, of the liberation of the colonial peoples, of the col- 
lective organisation of production and the advance to a single 
world union of socialist societies. These aims corresponded to 
the objective needs of the situation, but the subjective forces 
were not yet ready on a world scale. Nevertheless, Lenin was 
able before his death to see the full consolidation of the victory 
of these principles over a considerable part of the earth, to state 
with truth that all the conditions had been achieved for the 
rapid building of socialism in the Soviet Union, and to look for- 
ward with complete confidence to the ultimate victory of world 
communism, growing stronger through all temporary setbacks. 

The issue of these two paths was the issue of the post-war 

*A$ a self-epitaph on his life's work may be recalled one of Wilson's 
latest political utterances in a letter to James Kerney on December 7th, 
1923: "I should like to see Germany dean up France, and I should 
like to see Jusserand and tell him so to his face'* (quoted in H. E. Barnes's 
World Politics in Modern Civilisation, p. 363). These are the harsh and 
helpless words of a dying man, who was seeing all his ideals trampled 
underfoot, yet could see no way out in the entanglements in which an 
obsolete political outlook had caught him, and remained to the last 
a prisoner of the contradictions of imperialism, whose presuppositions 
he had not learnt to question and to fight. 


epoch, and in fact, through successive forms, remains with us 
to-day. History so turned out that these two paths were both 
demonstrated and tried out on a far-reaching scale in the post- 
war world. In Eastern Europe and the Asiatic territories of the 
Soviet Union one hundred and sixty millions adventured for- 
ward, through struggle and sacrifice, along the socialist path 
to the present victory of socialism. In the remainder of the 
world the masses were not yet ready and strong enough, had not 
yet developed the leadership and organisation and clearness of 
aims for successful revolutionary struggle, and remained under 
capitalist domination. 

The outcome of these two paths can now be analysed in the 
present world situation. A well-known writer once said that the 
most important happening in nineteenth-century England was 
the revolution that did not happen. In a more far-reaching 
sense it may be said that the most important fact of post-war 
Central and Western Europe and beyond is the socialist revolu- 
tion that did not happen, or rather, the high revolutionary 
struggles that for the time ended in defeat. This issue lies be- 
hind all the subsequent crucifixion of Versailles, of the world 
economic crisis, of mass unemployment and suffering, of de- 
clining standards of life and rising armaments, of the mad- 
house of Fascism, 

The issue of the revolution was not averted. It returns to-day 
with added force in a world under the shadow of reaction and 
war. But the path that has had to be trodden to reach it has 
proved a more painful path, a longer and more complicated 
path of hard and bitter experience through trial and error, 
since the loss of the opportunities of a decade and a half ago 
which were sacrificed to illusions whose falsity has since been 

From the outset the dominant concentration of all the leading 
statesmen of imperialism after the war was directed to the de- 
feating of the revolution. This issue overshadowed the Paris 
Peace Conference. The clearest and most conscious expression 
of this outlook was given by Lloyd George in his Memoran- 
dum to the Peace Conference in March 1919. He stated: 

46 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

"The whole of Europe is filled with the spirit of revolu- 
tion. There is a deep sense not only of discontent, but of 
anger and revolt, amongst the workmen against pre-war con- 
ditions. The whole existing order in its political, social and 
economic aspects is questioned by the masses of the popula- 
tion from one end of Europe to the other. . . . There is a 
danger that we may throw the masses of the population 
throughout Europe into the arms of the extremists. . . . 

"The greatest danger that I see in the present situation is 
that Germany may throw in her lot with Bolshevism and 
place her resources, her brains, her vast organising power at 
the disposal of the revolutionary fanatics whose dream it is to 
conquer the world for Bolshevism by force of arms [sic]. This 
danger is no mere chimera. The present Government in Ger- 
many is weak; it has no prestige; its authority is challenged; 
it lingers merely because there is no alternative but the 
Spartacists, and Germany is not ready for sparticism, as yet. 
But the argument which the Spartacists are using with great 
effect at this very time is that they alone can save Germany 
from the intolerable conditions which have been bequeathed 
her by the war. They offer to free the German people from 
indebtedness to the Allies and indebtedness to their own 
richer classes. They offer them complete control of their own 
affairs and the prospect of a new heaven and earth. It is true 
that the price will be heavy. There will be two or three years 
of anarchy, perhaps of bloodshed, but at the end the land 
will remain, the people will remain, the greater part of the 
houses and the factories will remain, and the railways and 
the roads will remain, and Germany, having thrown off her 
burdens, will be able to make a fresh start. 

"If Germany goes over to the Spartacists it is inevitable 
that she should throw in her lot with the Russian Bol- 
shevists. Once that happens all Eastern Europe will be swept 
into the orbit of the Bolshevik revolution. . . . 

"Bolshevik imperialism [sic] does not merely menace the 
States on Russia's borders. It threatens the whole of Asia and 
is as near to America as it is to France. It is idle to think that 
the Peace Conference can separate, however sound a peace 


it may have arranged with Germany, if it leaves Russia as it is 


(Memorandum of LLOYD GEORGE to the Peace 
Conference, March 25th, 1919, published in 

1922, Cmd. 1614) 

A similar consciousness of the fight against Bolshevism as 
the decisive task of the Peace Conference was expressed by Pres- 
ident Wilson during his journey to France on board the George 
Washington, according to the report of his secretary, Stannard 

"The poison of Bolshevism was accepted because it is a 
protest against the way in which the world has worked. It was 
to be our business at the Peace Conference to fight for a new 

(R. STANNARD BAKER, Wilson and World Settlement, 1923) 

In the same way, Hoover, in charge of American relief in Eur- 
ope, expressed concisely the aim in a letter in 1921: 

"The whole of American policy during the liquidation of 
the Armistice was to contribute everything it could to pre- 
vent Europe from going Bolshevik or being overrun by their 

(HERBERT HOOVER, letter to O. Garrison Villard, 
August iyth, 1921, quoted in Louis Fischer, 

The Soviets in World Affairs, Vol. i, p. 174) 

The efforts of the imperialist counter-revolution were direc- 
ted to overthrow Bolshevism in Russia and prevent its spread in 
other countries. For this purpose the chain of newly created 
States in Eastern Europe, together with the enlarged Rumanian 
State, were given the task to form a "cordon sanitaire" against 
Bolshevism from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Every type of 
counter-revolutionary army of the old white reactionary ele- 
ments was subsidised, armed and equipped by Western im- 
perialism to raise the banner of civil war against the Soviet 

48 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

regime. British, French, American and Japanese armed forces 
invaded Soviet territory on every side. Terrorism, assassination, 
sabotage and forgery were organised from the highest quarters 
in London and Paris. Poland was egged on, with French mili- 
tary instructors and British munitions, to invade Russia, al- 
though its aggression turned out unfavorably for itself when 
the Red Army reached the gates of Warsaw. A war on twenty- 
three fronts with all the resources of imperialism was let loose 
against the new Soviet State. 

Nevertheless, all these efforts of imperialism to overthrow the 
Soviet regime by every means in its power ended in complete 
failure. The history of the Paris Commune was not repeated. 
The overwhelming material superiority of the imperialist and 
counter-revolutionary forces did not result in victory. Why? 
First, because of the unbreakable resistance of the Russian 
workers and peasants, who knew for what they fought, who had 
complete confidence in their leadership, who were fighting for 
the possession of their own land, to be masters of their lives, 
against the exploiters, landlords, reactionary officers and im- 
perialist invaders, and therefore fought with a superhuman 
energy, tenacity and resource unequalled even in the records 
of revolutionary war. Second, because all the forces of the inter- 
national revolution, of the international working class were 
united with them in the common struggle. Revolt after revolt 
in the invading armies as well as in the forces at home, strikes 
and unrest in the imperialist countries, refusals of the dockers 
and transport workers to handle munitions and supplies for 
the counter-revolutionary armies, paralysed the action of im- 
perialism. The British Chief of Staff, Sir Henry Wilson, had to 
report to the Cabinet in January 1919 that "even now we dare 
not give an unpopular order to the troops, and discipline was 
a thing of the past" (quoted Fischer, op. cit., p. 163), and again, 
that the only policy was to "get our troops out of Europe and 
Russia, and concentrate all our strength in our coming storm 
centres, England, Ireland, Egypt, India" (ibid., p. 180). The 
plans of Foch, Ludendorff and Churchill for the large-scale 
combined invasion of Russia broke down, not because of lack 
of will of the Governments, but because they had not the forces 


to carry them out. The revolutionary wave in the other coun- 
tries was not high enough to overthrow imperialism, but it was 
high enough to prevent the success o the interventionist armies 
against the nucleus of the world revolution. The victory of 
Soviet Russia against the Superior forces of imperialism was in 
every sense a victory of the international revolution, of de- 
cisive significance for the whole future. 

On the other hand, in the other countries imperialism was 
finally successful in crushing the revolutionary uprisings. In 
Finland the Whites, unable to overthrow the workers' rule by 
their own strength, had already in the earlier part of 1918 called 
in the invading German armies to overthrow the workers' rule 
and set up the White Terror under Mannerheim; and here, as 
in the Baltic States, the Entente took over after the Armistice 
from their German class-allies the task of maintaining the 
counter-revolution. Against the Soviet regime in Hungary, 
which maintained power for three months and carried out far- 
reaching reforms in that period, the Entente not only employed 
the weapon of economic blockade, but sent the invading Ru- 
manian armies to overthrow it, to pillage and destroy, and final- 
ly hand over to the White dictatorship of Horthy. Against 
Germany during the critical period of the revolution the En- 
tente continued the weapon of the blockade, causing three- 
quarters of a million deaths by starvation after the Armistice. 
The power of the workers 1 and soldiers' councils, which had car- 
ried through the revolution, was undermined by the Social- 
Democratic leadership, who armed the monarchist officers and 
reactionary officers against them; these shot the revolutionary 
leaders, Liebknecht and 'Rosa Luxemburg, while prisoners, and 
drowned the revolution in blood. On this basis was established 
the Weimar Republic of nominal "democracy," with a wide 
show of concessions of social reforms to the workers in the early 
stages, but actually representing only the fagade behind which 
was being built up the armed power of the reactionary forces 
against the workers; until these reactionary forces in the fulness 
of time finally overthrew the democratic forms and the Social- 
Democratic puppets and established open Fascism. In Austria 
the same history was gone through stage by stage; the power of 

50 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

the workers and soldiers, who had made the revolution, was 
undermined from within by the Social-Democratic leadership, 
through the stages of bourgeois democracy and social reform, to 
the final outcome in Fascism. In Britain, France and the United 
States the method of social and economic concessions to the 
workers was employed, while the Labour leadership sought by 
every means to hold in the revolutionary forces during the criti- 
cal period 1919-1921; the concessions then rapidly gave place to 
the capitalist economic offensive. 

What underlay the defeat of the revolution in Central and 
Western Europe after the war? The rulers of Western imperial- 
ism were convinced that their economic weapon in the condi- 
tions of post-war chaos, the power of withholding or granting 
food supplies and necessaries of life according to the charac- 
ter of the regime in each country, was the decisive weapon. 
Thus the British Director of Relief in Central Europe, Sir Wil- 
liam Goode, wrote on "European Reconstruction" in 1925, 
quoting from his official report of 1920: 

"Food was practically the only basis on which the Govern- 
ments of the hastily created States could be maintained in 
power. Half of Europe had hovered on the brink of Bol- 
shevism. If it had not been for the 137 million in relief 
credits granted to Central and Eastern Europe between 1919 
and 1921, it would have been impossible to provide food and 
coal and the sea and land transport for them. Without food 
and coal and transport, Austria and probably several other 
countries would have gone the way of Russia. . . . Two and 
a half years after the Armistice the back of Bolshevism in 
Central Europe had been broken, largely by relief credits. 
. . . The expenditure of 137 million was probably one of 
the best international investments from a financial and polit- 
ical point of view ever recorded in history." 

(SIR WILLIAM GOODE, The Times, October i4th, 1925) 

The economic weapon, however, was not alone the decisive 
weapon, nor yet the military weapon, as instanced in the Ru- 


manian army invasion of Soviet Hungary. A revolutionary 
union of Central and Eastern Europe with Soviet Russia could 
have withstood these weapons; and indeed, as the memoran- 
dum of Lloyd George already quoted illustrates, this was the 
menace which the Western rulers most feared. The decisive 
weakness was an inner weakness. The Labour and Socialist 
movements in Europe west of Russia had grown up in the con- 
ditions of highly developed imperialism, and in their upper 
strata had become permeated with the influence of imperial- 
ism, which was able to offer, on the basis of the super-profits of 
colonial exploitation, privileged conditions to the upper sec- 
tions of the working class, and especially to the Labour bureau- 
cracy, separating them off from the mass of the workers and 
from the rest of the world proletariat. Hence arose the split in 
the working class in Western Europe and America, and the per- 
meation of the apparatus of the Labour movement by oppor- 
tunism, which was already evident before the war. The year 
1914 brought this to a head with the open passing over of the 
main body of the Labour and Socialist leadership to the side of 
their rival imperialist masters and the collapse of the Second 
International. In consequence, when the process of the war 
brought the working masses and soldiers into revolutionary 
movement, the main body of the apparatus of the Labour and 
Socialist movements, who held control of the organisations and 
were looked to by the main body of the workers as their leader- 
ship against capitalism, in fact operated as a counter-revolu- 
tionary force in the interests of capitalism, doing everything in 
their power to suppress the revolutionary movement and to 
assist the restoration of capitalist order. For this purpose they 
were ready, where necessary, as in Germany, to use the most 
violent means, including the arming of the most reactionary 
forces to shoot down the militant workers thus in fact prepar- 
ing the conditions for their own ultimate downfall. This was 
the role of the Social-Democratic leadership, in varying forms 
according to the conditions in each country, of Ebert, Scheide- 
mann or Noske in Germany, of Renner or Bauer in Austria, of 
Renaudel or Albert Thomas in France, of MacDonald, Hender- 

52 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

son or J. H. Thomas in England. This role was the decisive 
r61e in the defeating of the revolution in Central and Western 

The post-war revolutionary wave reached its height in 1920 
(with the Red Army at the gates of Warsaw, with the defeat of 
the Kapp putsch in Germany and the short-lived rule of the 
workers 5 councils in the Ruhr, and with the Councils of Action 
in Britain). In 1921, while Soviet Russia was completing the 
wiping out of the counter-revolutionary forces, came the defeat 
of the March offensive in Germany and the betrayal of "Black 
Friday" in Britain. The subsequent French invasion of the 
Ruhr brought once again the height of a revolutionary situa- 
tion in Germany in 1923. Stresemann spoke of his Grand Coali- 
tion as the "last parliamentary Government" in Germany. The 
fears of the Western statesmen were still intense in 1923, as con- 
temporary expression reveals. Baldwin, in an interview to the 
New 'York Herald, declared (Manchester Guardian, January 
8th, 1923): 

"The world is sitting on an anxious seat; for these is danger 
of revolution in France as well as in Germany." 

Smuts stated (Manchester Guardian, October 24th, 1923): 

"The economic and industrial structure of Europe is 
cracking in all directions." 

The Times in an editorial (November 24th, 1923) spoke of 

"a world that has broken loose from all accepted standards, 
a world that 'is rushing at unprecedented speed into the un- 

This final stage of the post-war revolutionary wave in 1923 
was eventually overcome with the aid of the still powerful and 
unshaken American capitalism, which granted liberal credits 
to Europe, creating the conditions for the short-lived period of 
stabilisation, and thereby laying the basis for the future world 
economic crisis which was also to engulf America. 


With the conclusion of the post-war revolutionary wave we 
thus enter into a period of unstable equilibrium of revolution 
and counter-revolution throughout the world. On the one 
hand, the revolution had conquered in Eastern Europe and the 
Asiatic territories of Soviet Russia (from the end of 1922, the 
Soviet Union). On the other hand, the revolution had been de- 
feated in Central and Western Europe. The capitalist and soci- 
alist worlds had to live together in an uneasy truce. In the suc- 
ceeding years each was to show its inner forces of development 
to the outcome to-day. 

The deep-seated revolutionary unrest and intense dass strug- 
gles of the post-war period did not come to an end with the 
close of the revolutionary wave in the years after the war, but 
continued in an unbroken chain, coming to the surface now in 
one country and now in another, up to the present day. The 
revolutionary situation in Germany in 1923, with the armed 
suppression of the Workers' Governments in Saxony and Thur- 
ingia, was followed by the Esthonian uprising in 1924, the 
colonial struggles in Syria and Morocco in 1925, the advance 
of the Chinese Revolution through 19251927, the British Gen- 
eral Strike of 1926, the Vienna rising of 1927, the sharpening 
German situation of partial civil war through 1929-1933, the 
Indian mass struggle of 1930-1934, the Spanish Revolution from 
1931, the February days in France in 1934, the armed fighting 
in Austria and in the Asturias in 1934, and the new stage of the 
Spanish Revolution to-day. 

Thus the "breathing-space" between two cycles of wars and 
revolutions was no period of quiescence. To-day all the evi- 
dence indicates that we are entering into a new stage of large- 
scale revolutionary struggles. 


The war brought to an extreme point the uneven division of 
the world. Not only the completely new type of division, un- 
known to pre-war history, between the area of the socialist revo- 
lution and the area of the capitalist counter-revolution became 
a permanent geographical feature of the post-war world; but 

54 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

an extreme differentiation developed within the capitalist 
world. The war, which had resulted from the inequality of cap- 
italist development, so far from solving that inequality, brought 
to a still higher and more extreme stage the uneven division of 
the capitalist world. The ruling classes might win a temporary 
victory over the revolt of the working masses and of the sub- 
ject peoples outside Russia; but defeat was concealed within 
their victory; for their victory only brought out more sharply 
their own inner division and its disintegrating effects. 

Before the war the stage had been reached, with the increas- 
ing concentration of capitalist development, that six great 
Powers of the old capitalist world (Europe) dominated between 
them almost the whole of Asia, Africa and Australia, while two 
new Powers outside, Japan and the United States, were rising 
very rapidly, but had not yet entered fully into the arena of 
world politics. The war of 1914 was a war of the six Powers a 
war to extinction. The new Powers only entered into it to an 
incomplete extent in order to extract the maximum advantage 
from it to win a commanding position for themselves. 

What was the position after the war? The former six Powers 
had been cut down for the time being by the destruction of 
three. We now find a new division of victor States and defeated 
States. The victor Powers endeavour to destroy the basis of the 
defeated German rival by robbing it of its colonies, shipping 
and the main part of its coal and iron resources, and shackling 
future development by the imposition of a heavy debt to pay. 
In doing this they raise a hundred new problems of which they 
are not themselves aware at the outset. In order to confirm their 
domination they bring into existence a whole series of new 
satellite and succession States, whose frontiers and diplomatic 
and economic relations create a host of new problems (the so- 
called "Balkanisation" of Europe). 

But the transformation of the relations of Europe and the 
world is still more far-reaching. The ultimate victory of the 
war, so far as it is possible to speak of any between the rival 
Powers, is revealed as passing, not to the victor Powers in Eur- 
ope, but to the new world Power outside Europe which has 
now come fully to the front, outgrowing its previous in part 


financially dependent and debtor position, and now materially 
and financially stronger than anythe United States of Am- 
erica, grown to full power on the profits of the war, and over- 
shadowing all the rest in wealth, resources and the power of 
production. The United States was able to play the waiting 
game of neutrality until the last stage, to enter only into the 
culminating decisive phase on the principle of the final stake 
that wins all, and to emerge with undiminished resources, in 
contrast to the exhaustion of the other warring Powers, the 
strongest force in the new relations of strength after the war, 
capturing the lion's share of the markets that the war had laid 
open, and the ultimate creditor of the new pyramid of debt that 
succeeded the war. Alongside the United States, the other ris- 
ing Powers outside Europe, Japan and to a certain extent the 
British Dominions, have advanced in strength, and begin to 
threaten the former supremacy of the old world and increasing- 
ly to win its markets. New antagonisms and areas of conflict on 
a world scale come to the front which begin to throw the old 
European issues into the background and threaten to exceed by 
far the antagonisms preceding the war of 1914. 

At the same time the colonial nations are now rising in con- 
sciousness and in revolt. A new wave of awakening passes over 
Asia and Africa. 

Thus we get an extremely diversified picture in the post-war 
world of a whole series of different levels: (i) the strongest im- 
perialist State, the United States of America, in a creditor posi- 
tion to all the rest, endeavouring at first to exercise direct world 
domination through the leadership of the Peace Conference 
and of the world League to be formed, but thereafter retiring 
to a policy of isolation, which the facts of world politics in- 
creasingly defeat; (2) the rising Powers outside Europe Japan 
and the British Dominions, these latter still in a financially, and 
to some extent politically, dependent position; (3) the victor 
Powers in Europe, with Britain torn between its European 
liabilities and its larger world interests, and faced with the dis- 
integrating tendencies of its Empire; with France seeking to 
exercise a precarious hegemony in Europe exceeding its 
strength; and with Italy discontented and inclining to side with 

56 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

the defeated Powers; (4) the satellite States of the victor Powers 
in Europe, dependent on their support for maintaining their 
position, and the ex-neutral States; (5) the defeated Powers, at 
first the passive object of policy, then advancing to a challenging 
position; (6) the colonial nations advancing at various stages 
in the struggle for independence; and finally alongside all 
these, (7) communism, now directly holding power over one- 
sixth of the earth. And this is to miss out a whole series of in- 
termediate stages, backward countries, semi-independent States, 

Here is, indeed, a picture of extreme inequality of develop- 
ment. What of the antagonisms of capitalism? Have they dimin- 
ished since the war? On the contrary. The antagonisms which 
gave rise to the war have been intensified by its results; and a 
score of new antagonisms all over the world have broken out. 

It is through this maze of antagonistic interrelations, and 
their shifting interplay, that we now need to note some of the 
main governing lines of significance for future world develop- 
ment, and, in particular, the character of the post-war "settle- 
ments'* to which they gave rise, the gradual liquidation of these 
settlements and the advance to the present stage in which new 
issues are pressing forward once more to the point of decisive 


Two main settlements governed the post-war period: Ver- 
sailles, and its associated minor treaties, in respect of Europe, 
the Near East and the former German colonies; and Washington 
in respect of the major extra-European issues. Versailles had in 
fact been intended to represent a world settlement, leading to 
a world League; it became in practice, owing to the major an- 
tagonisms of the United States against the British-French alli- 
ance (in reality reflecting the main antagonism of imperialism 
in the post-war period, the Anglo-American antagonism), es- 
sentially a European settlement. 

The victor Powers had won the war; but they were sharply 


divided when it came to the division of the spoils and their con- 
ception of the peace that was to follow it. 

The United States, which had no need of territorial con- 
quests and was less affected by the former German commercial 
rivalry, sought to realise two main aims: first, in the early 
stages, through the role of Wilson, to achieve a position of lead- 
ership of world capitalism consonant with its new strength and 
to become the arbiter of Europe; and second, to strike down 
British naval supremacy, which was the main obstacle to Am- 
erican world hegemony, and for which purpose a vast naval 
building programme was pressed forward immediately after the 
war. The dreams of Wilson of American world leadership, with 
himself as President of the Federation of the World, were rapid- 
ly shattered (and now only remain enshrined in Article 5 of the 
Covenant of the League of Nations, that "the first meeting of 
the Assembly and the first meeting of the Council shall be sum- 
moned by the President of the United States of America"). The 
strategic strength of the United States was not yet sufficient to 
establish such a position of direct world domination in the face 
of the power of Britain and France. American policy according- 
ly drew back from the too direct line of Wilson, refused to sign 
the Versailles Treaty or enter the League, and pursued instead 
the line of so-called "isolation," in fact of more indirect finan- 
cial, economic and diplomatic penetration, alongside of 
strengthening its strategic preparations. This was the first rift 
in the victor alliance, and the signal of the new world antagon- 
isms developing. 

Britain and France were united in the first stage in seeking 
to strike down Germany; but when it came to the methods and 
the division of the spoils they were sharply divided. Britain was 
concerned to strike down Germany as a commercial, shipping 
and naval rival, and to win the former German colonies; in re- 
spect of Europe it was anxious to avoid too sharp a tipping of 
the balance of power in the long run. France was concerned tc 
establish its hegemony in Europe, to extend its territory to the 
left bank of the Rhine, to win the decisive coal, iron and steel 
area of Europe, comprised in Lorraine, the Ruhr and the Saar 

58 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

and to hold Germany in permanent inferiority. These two aims 
were necessarily antagonistic, and underlay the ceaseless British- 
French conflict which accompanied their partnership in hold- 
ing the spoils of victory throughout the post-war period. 

Britain was the most successful in securing its war aims. 
Lloyd George could declare with reason, as reported in Lord 
Riddell's Intimate Diary of the Peace Conference and After f 

"The truth is that we have got our way. We have got most 
of the things we set out to get. . . . The German navy has 
been handed over, the German mercantile shipping has been 
handed over, and the German colonies have been given up. 
One of our chief trade competitors has been most seriously 
crippled, and our Allies are about to become her biggest cred- 
itors. That is no small achievement. 

The summary is correct. Britain secured the destruction of the 
German navy, the handing over of the German merchant mar- 
ine, the crippling of German industry by the loss of three- 
fourths of its iron ore supply and one third of its coal as well as 
by the weight of reparations; and in addition the British Em- 
pire secured an extension of 1,607,053 square miles of territory 
inhabited by 35,000,000 people (as against 402,392 square miles 
to France, inhabited by 4,000,000). It is only necessary to add 
that by 1925 German steel production was nearly double the 
British level; by 1927 German industrial production was 17 per 
cent above pre-war, while British was 8 per cent below; by 1930 
German exports exceeded British; by 1935 Britain was signing 
an agreement for German naval rearmament, and by 1936 
British ruling circles were discussing the necessity of the return 
of colonies to Germany. 

France was less successful in its war aims. It secured Alsace 
and Lorraine, but the aim of the General Staff to extend the 
frontier to the left bank of the Rhine was defeated by the op- 
position of Britain and the United States, who offered as an 
alternative a Treaty of Military Guarantee which subsequently 
fell through. All that could be obtained was a joint allied occu- 


pation of the left bank for fifteen years, fifteen years of Saar 
coal, and demilitarisation of a fifty-kilometre zone on the right 
bank of the Rhine. Disarmament was imposed on Germany 
under inter-allied control, with limitation to a professional 
army of 100,000 and prohibition of heavy artillery and military 
aviation; but a blind eye was turned to the numerous armed 
counter-revolutionary organisations (Orgesch, Einwohnerwehr, 
etc.) which were required to hold in the workers' revolution 
and became the nucleus of the subsequent Fascist formations. 
Heavy reparations were imposed of an unspecified amount 
(the French Minister of Finance who endeavoured to calculate 
them, with an original estimate of 20,000,000,000, ending in 
an asylum); but the object of these was essentially political, as 
a means of exercising pressure on Germany and securing what 
the Treaty had failed to give. The iron of Lorraine required the 
coal and coke of the Ruhr; the marriage of these had been the 
basis of German heavy industry; and French policy was directed 
to securing the permanent occupation of the Rhineland and the 
conquest of the Ruhr. For this purpose the reparations issue 
was an essential weapon. As Poincar explained in a speech on 
June 26th, 1922: 

"So far as I am concerned, it would pain me if Germany 
were to pay; then we should have to evacuate the Rhineland. 
Which do you regard as better, the obtaining of cash or the 
acquisition of new territory? I for my part prefer the occupa- 
ation and the conquest to the money of reparations. Hence 
you will comprehend why we need a powerful army and vigi- 
lant patriotism; you will comprehend that the sole means of 
saving the Treaty of Versailles is to arrange matters in such a 
way that our defeated enemies cannot fulfil its conditions." 

This policy reached its highest point and breakdown in the oc- 
cupation of the Ruhr in 1923. 

At the same time France sought to establish its hegemony in 
Europe by a series of treaties with the secondary European 
States which benefited by the Treaty of Versailles (Franco- 
Belgian Military Alliance, 1920; Franco-Polish Alliance, 1921; 

6o WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Czecho-Slovak-Yugoslav-Rumanian Aliance, 1921; Franco- 
Czecho-Slovak Alliance, 1924; Franco-Rumanian Alliance, 
1926; Franco-Yugoslav Alliance, 1927). 

The Versailles Treaty is to-day a conspicuous failure and the 
common butt of criticism. But in fact it reflected the given aims 
and relations of imperialism. The plea sometimes put forward 
that its unworkable territorial provisions were the consequence 
of idealistic motives of "self-determination" will not hold water. 
The lopping off of German populations as well as the prohibi- 
tion of the union of Austria with Germany was governed by 
strategic considerations, in defiance of the most elementary 
principles of self-determination. The colonial partitions bore 
no relation to self-determination. In the four new or enlarged 
European States beneficiary under the victor treaties, Poland, 
Czecho-Slovakia, Yugoslavia and Rumania, the national ma- 
jorities of 47.9 millions were given rule over national minorities 
of 22.7 millions, as the following table indicates: 

National National 

Majority Minorities 

Poland 17,667,000 9>547>77 

Czecho-Slovakia 8,760,000 4,844,000 

Yugoslavia 9,971,600 2,160,100 

Rumania 11,576,000 6,240,600 

Totals 47,974,600 22,792,470 

(j. s. ROUCEK, The Working of the Minorities System 
under the League of Nations, Prague, 1929, quoted 
in v. DE BALLA The New Balance of Power in Eur- 
ope, Oxford University Press, 1932) 

The Versailles and allied treaties were essentially strategic treat- 
ies of imperialism, which alternately exploited and violated the 
pleas of "self-determination" in accordance with strategic in- 
terests. 1 

*It js impossible to refrain from quoting the editorial of The Times 
following the publication of the Versailles Treaty: 

"This Treaty is almost unique among the Treaties of the world in 
the careful consideration that its framers have given to the principles 


The situation immediately after Versailles was governed by 
the two major antagonisms of the victor Powers, the British- 
American antagonism and the British-French antagonism. 

No sooner had German imperialism been cleared (temporar- 
ily) out of the path than it became evident that the former dom- 
inant Anglo-German antagonism had only given place to a 
more vast world imperialist antagonism, that of Britain and 
America, which was destined in the new epoch to become the 
pivot of inter-imperialist relations. In 19191921 the Anglo- 
American antagonism flared up at a reckless pace. Already in 
1919 Colonel House could report to President Wilson (on July 
goth, 1919): 

"Almost as soon as I arrived in England, I felt an antagon- 
ism to the United States. . . . The relations of the two coun- 
tries are beginning to assume the same character as that of 
England and Germany before the war." 

The sharpest expression of this conflict was the naval building 
race which developed in 1919-1921 (the conflict in fact ranged 
over all fields, notably oil, as in the sharp Curzon-Colby cor- 
respondence in 1920 over San Remo and Mesopotamian oil). 
The United States had laid down a heavy naval building pro- 
gramme in 1918, In 1919 Lloyd George pressed Wilson at Ver- 
sailles for "a more positive endorsement of Great Britain's mari- 
time position and perhaps a guarantee that the United States 
would not push naval competition to a point where they would 
threaten the supremacy of the British on the seas*' (The In- 
timate Papers of Colonel House, Vol. IV, p. 417). Lloyd George 
stated to Colonel House during the Paris Peace Conference: 

"Great Britain would spend her last guinea to keep her 
navy superior to that of the United States or any other 

(The Intimate Papers of Colonel House, VoL IV, p. 186) 

of a just settlement as distinguished from claims of ambition or of 

selfish interest/' 

(The Times, May, i2th, 1919) 

With this it is only necessary to compare the editorials of The Times in 
1935 attacking the Versailles Treaty for its injustice to Germany, 

62 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

The reaction of the United States Secretary of the Navy, Dan- 
iels, was recorded in his diary, where he noted the British de- 
mand in the following terms: 

" 'Mr, Lloyd George cannot support the League of Nations 
unless the United States will agree to cease the construction 
of its big naval program. Great Britain cannot consent to 
any other nation having supremacy on the seas/ 

"I did not reply to this virtual ultimatum. It ended the 
discussion for the time being. ... It was necessary to end 
the conference to secure time to cool off after so astonishing 
a threat.'* 

(Diary of the United States Secretary of the Navy, 

j. DANIELS, quoted in F. MOORE, America's Naval 

Challenge, New York, 1929) 

This attempt to secure American agreement to British naval 
supremacy was not successful. In 1920 Britain began to climb 
down and announced a One-Power Standard; on March iyth, 

1920, the First Lord of the Admiralty announced in the House 
of Commons the principle "that the British Navy should not 
be inferior in strength to that of any other Power." But, as the 
American naval experts were quick to point out, the principle 
"inferior to none" did not guarantee equality. Japan at the 
same time was pressing forward with its naval programme and 
in 1920-1921 was spending half its revenue on the navy. In 
192 1 the British Parliament voted four super-Hoods, larger and 
stronger than any battleships then building abroad; and four 
other great battleships were planned for the following year. 

The world economic crisis opening in the winter of 1920- 

1921, which fell with especial heaviness on Britain, inaugura- 
ting the deep depression of the basic industries and mass unem- 
ployment that has continued unbroken in the post-war Britain 
of capitalist decline, brought a stop to this headlong race and 
compelled British imperialism to draw in its horns. The Uni- 
ted States summoned the Washington Conference at the end of 
1921, and was able to compel the acceptance by Britain of naval 
parity in capital ships, the acceptance by Japan of a three-fifths 


atio, and the abandonment of the Anglo- Japanese Alliance. 
This victory o the United States was won without a battle on 
he strength of its superior economic and financial resources. 
Nevertheless, the struggle continued, as the subsequent break- 
[own of the Geneva Naval Conference in 1927, the ceaseless dis- 
>utes on parity, the very partial achievement of the London 
Naval Treaty of 1930, and the final breakdown of the Washing- 
on basis with the Japanese repudiation in 1934 revealed. 

The further significance of the Washington Treaties in rela- 
ion to the Far East will need to be considered in a later chap 

The British-French antagonism, which had already shown it- 
elf in the Peace Conference (notably in the Lloyd George 
Memorandum of March 1919, and in Smuts' declaration of the 
ntention of future revision, on signing the treaty), developed 
mmediately after, not only over the questions of reparations 
.nd policy in Europe, but also sharply in the Near East. In the 
Near East Britain and France conducted a war by proxy 
hrough the persons of Greece and Turkey; Britain supported 
nd armed Greece; France supported and armed Turkey. Na- 
ionalist Turkey under Mustapha Kemal was able to tear up 
he Treaty of Sevres and establish its independent national ex- 
stence on the basis of the British-French antagonism; the 
Tanco-Turkish Treaty of October 1921 was signed in the face 
f the impotent protests of Lord Curzon. The subsequent rout 
>f the Greek troops and the Chanak crisis of the British troops 
t the Straits in 1922 led directly to the fall of the Lloyd George 
xovernment. By the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 the Turks won 
he main part of their national aims, with the exception of 
osul and the necessity to accept the demilitarisation of the 

In Europe, Britain sought to weaken the French hegemony, 
without abandoning the basis of Versailles, by giving a measure 
>f support to Germany, and even by one ambitious attempt to 
[raw in also Soviet Russia to redress the balance. This attempt 
/as made by Lloyd George at the Genoa Conference in 1922; 
laborate plans had been drawn up for a European Financial 
Consortium to organise the "restoration of Europe" and pre- 

64 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

pare the economic and financial penetration of Russia. The at- 
tempt broke down against the resistance of France, where 
Briand had been replaced by Poincar, and against the firm, 
though conciliatory, attitude of Soviet Russia, which was pre- 
pared for economic relations, but was not prepared to yield to 
fantastic claims. The only positive outcome was the Rapallo 
Treaty of Germany and Soviet Russia, which brought for the 
first time a counterweight against the dominance of Britain and 
France and was the first step in weakening the chains of Versail- 
les. The failure of Lloyd George at Genoa combined with the 
subsequent Chanak crisis to cause his downfall and replacement 
by the weak Bonar Law Government. 

France was now free to go forward with its policy independ- 
ently of Britain, and in January 1923 Poincar occupied the 
Ruhr. Britain vainly sought the help of the United States to 
redress the balance; but the conditions were not yet ripe. It was 
first necessary for Britain to accept the onerous debts agree- 
ment with America, made far heavier for Britain than for any 
subsequent debtor. By the end of 1923 the United States, now 
desirous to enter Europe as a field for the export of its surplus 
capital, was ready to act. With the breakdown of the Ruhr ad- 
venture in the face of German mass opposition, the way was 
open for Anglo-American temporary financial and diplomatic 
co-operation to enforce on France acceptance of the Experts' 
Plan or Dawes Plan for the more scientific exploitation of Ger- 
many in the interests of Anglo-American finance. 

The Dawes Plan, adopted in 1924, ended the first post-war 
period and opened the new period of temporary stabilisation. 


The period of temporary stabilisation which may well be 
called the period of illusions of a restored and prosperously ad- 
vancing capitalism lasted from 1924 to 1929. 

It began with the London Conference and the adoption of 
the Dawes Plan in 1924, which was regarded as settling the 
vexed question of reparations on a practical basis ("the stand- 
point adopted has been that of business and not politics," de- 


clared the experts), and opened the way for the economic restor- 
ation of capitalism in Germany. This was followed by a flow of 
American capital and credits into Germany and other Euro- 
pean countries, leading to rapid industrial development and 
expansion. A series of League of Nations loans assisted the 
smaller European States. In 1925 this economic restoration was 
followed by a process of political settlement through the Locar- 
no Treaties, of which the most important guaranteed the wes- 
tern frontier of Germany on a basis of common guarantee of 
Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, and Italy. In the same 
year Britain returned to the gold standard; and in successive 
years the gold standard was re-established in the majority of 
countries. In 1926 Germany entered the League of Nations; 
closer Franco-German co-operation was established at Thoiry, 
and French and German interests united in the European Steel 
Cartel. Briand and Stresemann spoke of themselves as "good 
Europeans"; projects of "Pan-Europe" began to be mooted with 
semi-official encouragement; a new era of peace and progress 
was believed to have opened, with the gradual obliteration of 
old divisions and differences. In the same year the Preparatory 
Commission of the Disarmament Conference began its sessions, 
and continued in 1927 with the addition of representatives of 
the Soviet Union. In 1927 the Assembly of the League of Na- 
tions resolved that "all wars of aggression are and shall always 
be prohibited." In 1928 the Briand-Kellogg Pact recorded the 
pledges of all the States of the world to "renounce war as an 
instrument of national policy." In 1929 the Young Plan experts 
were laying the foundations of an International Bank, which 
should, in the words of the report, "become an increasingly 
close and valuable link in the co-operation of central banking 
institutions generally, a co-operation essential to the continuing 
stability of the world's credit structure." 

Production and trade leapt up throughout the world. Be- 
tween 1925 and 1929 the League of Nations index of the world 
production of foodstuffs (on the basis of 100 as the average of 
1925-9) rose from 98 to 103, of industrial raw materials from 
92 to 1 1 1, of industrial goods from 92 to 1 1 1, and of the volume 
of world trade from 92 to 1 1 1. In those same years the index of 

66 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

German industrial production rose from 87 to 109, o the Uni- 
ted States from 95 to 109, of the United Kingdom from 99 to 
112, of France from 88 to 114. Profits piled up; capital invest- 
ments soared; share values soared. The index of the market 
value of industrial shares rose in the United States from 100 in 
1926 to 189 in 1929, in Germany from 93 in 1925 to 126 in 1929, 
in the United Kingdom from 109 in 1925 to 139 in 1929. 

That was one side of the picture a picture of boom condi- 
tions, of a loudly acclaimed prosperity, peace and progress of a 
supposedly stabilised and reorganised capitalism which was be- 
lieved to have overcome its contradictions and antagonisms. On 
this basis was built a host of illusions of "organised capitalism/' 
the "conquest of poverty/' the "end of crises," and in general a 
"new era" of limitless expansion and world peace. Hoover de- 
clared in 1928 that "the outlook for the world to-day is for the 
greatest era of commercial expansion in history," and again 
that "unemployment in the sense of distress is finally disap- 
pearing; we in America to-day are nearer to the final triumph 
over poverty than ever before in the history of any land." The 
American Professor N. Carver of Harvard University published 
a book in 1928 entitled This Economic World in which he 
raised the question "How long will this diffusion of prosper- 
ity last?" and answered: "There is absolutely no reason why the 
widely diffused prosperity which we are now witnessing should 
not permanently increase." This view was shared by the leaders 
of industry. The President of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation 
declared in 1928: "I say with confidence that there has been 
established a foundation upon which there may be built a struc- 
ture of prosperity far exceeding anything we have yet enjoyed." 
(The Iron Age, November ist, 1928). The president of General 
Motors declared: "My standpoint regarding 1929 is based on 
the conviction that our general economic and industrial situa- 
tion is thoroughly sound" (New York Times, October 2gth, 
1928). The special conditions of the American expansion of 
this period, and the high wages paid to a section of the work- 
ers, were regarded as the type of modern capitalism. The view 
was expressed that capitalism was evolving, with the growing 
concentration of the great trusts and co-operation of the central 


banks, to a new type of "organised capitalism" or "ultra-capital- 
ism/* i.e. to a rational productive organisation of economy on a 
world scale, eliminating crises and gradually overcoming pov- 
erty and unemployment.. These views were especially promoted 
by the reformist leadership of the Labour movements in Europe 
and America. The theorist of German Social Democracy, Hil- 
ferding, stated at the Kiel Congress of his party in 1927, that 
"we are in the period of capitalism which in the main has 
overcome the era of free competition and the sway of the blind 
laws of the market, and we are coming to a capitalist organisa- 
tion of economy ... to organised economy," and that "or- 
ganised capitalism in reality signifies the supersession, in prin- 
ciple, of the capitalist principle of free competition by the 
Socialist principle of planned production." 

These illusions of the period of temporary stabilisation as a 
supposed new era of a stable and permanently advancing cap- 
italism were shared and expressed, in one form or another, by 
all the political leaders, the business leaders and the economic 
theorists of capitalism, as well as by the trade union and Labour 
reformist leaders and theorists. The Marxists alone at the time 
correctly analysed the situation and its future outcome. 1 

The reality was indeed different, as the subsequent world ec- 
onomic crisis which began in 1929 rapidly made clear to all. So 
far from the inner contradictions and antagonisms of capitalism 
having been overcome, they were intensified by the general 
crisis of post-war capitalism; and the subsequent world eco- 
nomic crisis exceeded in intensity all that had gone before. The 
whole basis of the post-war temporary stabilisation was in fact 
rotten at the root. It did not represent in any sense a return 
even to the pre-war level of relative stability, but was built on 
forces which made certain the future collapse. The reasons for 

1 After the event, official expression recognised the illusory character 
of the period of stabilisation. Thus the British Government Note of 
December ist, 1932, to the United States declared: 

"The prosperity of the period from 1923 to 1929 was to a large 
extent illusory, and the seeds of future trouble had already been 

This hindsight after the event is typical of bourgeois economic wisdom. 
In fact, the admission was only made for the purposes of the debts 
controversy with the United States. 

68 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

this lay both in the particular conditions of the process o par- 
tial stabilisation, and in the general conditions of the stage of 
capitalism that had been reached. 

The immediate pillar of the process of capitalist restoration 
in Europe was the flow of American capital export to Europe, 
and especially to Germany. This laid the basis for the return to 
the gold standard, and produced a temporary flush of prosper- 
ity and expansion. In reality it concealed a heavier dilemma 
than that which it was intended to solve. 

The United States had emerged from the war a creditor na- 
tion in place of its previous debtor position. But it was a credi- 
tor nation of a new type. Unlike the United Kingdom, which 
had since the middle of the nineteenth century combined a ris- 
ing creditor position with a rising net balance of imports, rep- 
resenting the portion of the overseas tribute which was not 
reinvested, the United States combined its new creditor posi- 
tion with a large surplus of exports, which was being forced up 
by every means of highly organised mass production and com- 
petitive selling, at the same time as high tariffs were being main- 
tained and increased to exclude imports. From this resulted an 
obvious contradiction. The impoverished world after the war 
was in debt to the wealthy American capitalism, and at the 
same time America was pouring out a surplus of goods on the 
world, which increased the debt. Europe with an adverse trade 
balance of four hundred million pounds was needing to pay 
tribute to America with a favourable trade balance of two hun- 
dred million pounds. The result inevitably reflected itself in the 
flow of gold to America. Between 1913 and 1954 American gold 
holdings rose from 1,924 million dollars to 4,499 million dol- 
lars, or roughly half the gold in the world. The apoplexy of 
capitalist development had now reached an extreme point. 
While Europe was struggling with paper inflation and dear 
credit, the United States was struggling to "immobilise" and 
"sterilise" its gold in vaults in order to prevent "gold inflation." 
"Your country has most of the gold in the world; what are you 
going to do about it?" was the question asked of Ambassador 
Kellogg by "a distinguished London banker," according to a 
speech of the former at a farewell banquet in London. His reply 


was: "Bring the pound sterling to a gold basis and restore the 
currencies of Europe, and the gold question will settle itself" 
(The Times, January gist, 1925). But, as subsequent experi- 
ence has shown, the question did not "settle itself" so easily. 

The short-lived "solution" found was the export of Ameri- 
can capital to Europe and the world. From the second half of 
1924 loans and credits, governmental and industrial, of which 
the Dawes Loan was only the leading example and signpost, 
poured into Europe from America. The restoration of Europe 
was in full swing. The Democratic Left (represented by the 
MacDonald Government in Britain and the Herriot Govern- 
ment in France) had their brief heyday while the golden chains 
were being imposed to be speedily replaced by sterner forces 
as soon as the exaction of the tribute became the task. The flow 
of gold was turned. Gold began to pass out again from America 
to the rest of the world. In the first half of 1924 the net gold 
import into America was 450 million dollars; in the second 
half there was a net gold export of 170 millions. The dollar ex- 
change began to climb down closer to sterling. The restoration 
of the gold standard followed in Britain in 1925. 

It was obvious that the whole basis of this restoration was 
precarious and bound to lead to a future collapse. So long as 
the flow of American capital export could be maintained, the 
position could be held. Between 1925 and 1928 the average an- 
nual total of American foreign investments amounted to 1,100 
million dollars (U.S. Commerce Reports, May igth, 1929). By 
1928 the net interest from foreign investments amounted to 
523 million dollars, and the receipts on war debts to 210 mil- 
lions (it will be noted that the question of reparations and war 
debts accentuated, but played a secondary r61e in the total 
tangle), or a total of 733 millions (The Balance of International 
Payments of the United States in 1928). Thus the new foreign 
investment exceeded the return in interest and receipts on war 
debts. It was clear that this situation could not continue for 
more than a limited period. On the side of Germany the total 
gross foreign debt mounted up from 2.5 milliard Reichsmarks 
in 1925 to 25 milliards in 1929, or from 125 million to 1,350 
million (Reich Statistical Office figures, Wirtschaft und Statis- 

yo WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tik, November 2nd, 1930). By 1928 the German statistician, Dr. 
Kuczynski, estimated that of the total German wealth, com- 
puted at 50 to 60 thousand million dollars, foreign holdings in 
one form or another amounted to 13 to 15 thousand millions, 
or one quarter (New York Nation, November yth, 1928). As 
the pyramid of debt mounted up, and the interest was only 
being paid by new borrowing, each new loan became more pre- 
carious, and the prospect drew closer in sight when the flow of 
new foreign capital would dry up. But once this flow should be- 
gin to dry up (as it finally did in 1930), the whole structure 
would come crashing, unless a vast surplus of exports could 
have been achieved in the interim period to pay the tribute. At 
the end of the process of "stablisation" the original problem 
recurred in sharpened form. 

To meet this situation it was necessary for the European 
countries, and for Germany in particular, enormously to in- 
crease their exports. But in the four years 1925 to 1928 Ger- 
many had a net imports surplus of 7,81 1 million marks, or "390 
million. To turn this into an exports surplus sufficient to pay 
the interest on the foreign debts (even if reparations payments 
had been completely cancelled) would have made it necessary to 
flood the world market with German goods. Every effort was 
made to achieve this aim. A gigantic rationalisation process was 
carried through, with the aid of the borrowed capital, to equip 
German industry to pour mass-production goods on the world 
market. But here the effort broke down against the deeper 
causes of the world economic crisis. 

Every capitalist industrial country in the period of partial 
stabilisation was enormously increasing its productive power. 
Each one was seeking to obtain an enlarged share of the world 
market to absorb its output. At the same time the production 
of primary materials in the colonial and semi-colonial countries 
was enormously forced up. For a period the process of expan- 
sion could develop through the phase of the boom so long as the 
actual expansion of production could help to provide the ex- 
panding market. But ultimately this expansion of necessity 
broke against the limits of mass consumption in the conditions 
of capitalist exploitation. The very process of rationalisation, 


which extracted a continually increased output from a dimin- 
ished labour force and with a diminished net return to labour, 
intensified this contradiction. Already in the beginning of 1928 
the Chief of the United States Bureau of Labour Statistics was 
raising the problem: 

"The question which everybody was asking in 1927 was: 
How is the reduced employment going to buy the increased 
output? Rationalisation spells increased output. The year 
1927 did not answer the question, and let us hope that it will 
be as successfully sidestepped in 1928." 

The first signs of the approaching crisis appeared in the accu- 
mulation of stocks of primary products. World stocks of pri- 
mary products, on the basis of 1923-1925 as 100, increased by 
the end of 1926 to 134, by 1928 to 161, and by 1929 to 192. An 
agrarian crisis developed in the colonial and semi-colonial 

The crash came in 1929. The crash began in the United 
States and extended to the world. American capitalism, which 
had been held up as the type of the "new capitalism," and 
which had been the principal organiser of "stabilisation/' be- 
came the principal demonstration of capitalist bankruptcy and 
the immediate agent of disorganisation of world economy. 
When the crash came, it was all the more extensive, far-reaching 
and lasting in its effects, both because of the enormous increase 
in productive power, and because of the economic-political con- 
ditions of the general crisis of capitalism already described. 

The world economic crisis of 1929 to 1933 was the most devas- 
tating economic crisis in capitalist history. It is unnecessary to 
describe in detail the havoc of this crisis, whose effects, contin- 
ued into the prolonged depression that has succeeded it, have 
affected the lives of every human being. Between the peak in the 
second quarter of 1929 and the lowest point of the crisis in the 
third quarter of 1932, world industrial production outside the 
Soviet Union (whose production nearly doubled in the same 
period), on the basis of the average of 1925-1929 as 100, fell 
from 1 13.1 to 65.9, or a fall of 42 per cent (figures of the Insti- 

72 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tut fur Konjunkturforschung, reproduced in World Production 
and Prices, 1925-1932, League of Nations, 1933, p. 47). For con- 
trast it is only necessary to note that in any previous pre-war 
crisis the maximum recorded fall of production was 7 per cent. 
Between 1929 and 1932 world trade, measured in gold dollars, 
fell by 65 per cent. The previous maximum drop, in the crisis of 
1907-1908, was 7 per cent. Mass unemployment rose to a total 
estimated at thirty to fifty millions. The League of Nations in- 
ternational index of unemployment rose from 100 in 1929 to 
164 in 1930, 235 in 1931, and 291 in 1932, and remained at 274 
in 1933 and 221 in 1934. 

The period of temporary stabilisation thus ended in the 
greatest economic crash in history. In the earlier stages the at- 
tempt was still made to minimise its significance as a temporary 
interruption of capitalist progress. The attempt was made to at- 
tribute its causes to isolated, incidental factors, and in particu- 
lar to the working of the vicious system of reparations and war 
debts. But the abolition of reparations and war debts payments 
by the Hoover moratorium of 1931, so far from solving the cri- 
sis, only laid bare its deeper character. As the deeper effects of 
the crisis began to operate in 1931-1933, and the prolonged de- 
pression ensued, far-reaching economic and political changes 
followed which have transformed the world situation and 
shaped the present era. 


The world economic crisis opened a period of storm in inter- 
national political relations which is still rising. The language of 
peace and reconciliation passed into the background. The lan- 
guage of war and preparation for war became open and stri- 
dent. The joint author of Locarno, Sir Austen Chamberlain, 
looking out on the world in 1932, gave utterance at a Primrose 
League dinner to his unconcealed apprehension, as he reviewed 
the transformation from the happy days (me consule) of Locar- 
no and stabilisation: 

"I look at the world to-day, and I contrast the conditions 
now with the conditions at that time, and I am forced to ac- 


knowledge that for some reason or other, owing to something 
upon which it is difficult to put one's finger, in these last two 
years the world is moving backward. Instead of approaching 
nearer to one another, instead of increasing the measure of 
goodwill, instead of progressing to a stable peace, it has fallen 
back into an attitude of suspicion, of fear, of danger, which 
imperils the peace of the world." 

(The Times, February 4th, 1932) 

"The world is moving backward." The innocent might have im- 
agined that a good Conservative should be delighted to be able 
to make such an announcement. But in fact the world was not 
moving backward. It was moving forward at an accelerating 
pace, to growing crisis, to ever more visible social, economic and 
political bankruptcy of the existing capitalist regime, to desper- 
ate expedients of reaction, to war and the menace of impending 
explosions, both within each country and internationally, and 
to growing advance to revolutionary struggles. This was the 
outcome to which the period capitalist restoration had finally 

In rapid succession event followed event, bringing down the 
pillars of stabilisation and of the post-war settlements. In 1930 
an emergency regime was established in Germany, suspending 
parliamentary forms; this continued until the final transition to 
Fascism in 1933. In 1931 came the suspension of all payments of 
reparations and war debts; the formation of the National Gov- 
ernment in Britain; the collapse of the gold standard in Britain, 
followed by most other countries; and Japan's invasion of 
North China, in violation of the Covenant of the League, the 
Washington Nine-Power Treaty and the Kellogg Pact, followed 
by Japan's departure from the League of Nations. In 1932 the 
Disarmament Conference opened while the Japanese guns were 
bombarding Shanghai and Chapei, and for three years dragged 
out its fruitless sessions; the Lausanne Conference registered the 
end of reparations; the Ottawa Conference of the British Em- 
pire marked the end of the last remains of free trade; while the 
completion of the first Five Year Plan brought the Soviet Union 
to the position of the first industrial Power in Europe and the 

74 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

second in the world. In 1933 Hitler came to power in Germany 
and inaugurated the regime of Fascist terror, with repercussions 
throughout Europe; Germany left the League of Nations and 
resumed freedom of action in the military sphere; Roosevelt in- 
augurated the emergency regime of the New Deal in the United 
States, the gold standard crashed in the United States, the 
only remaining great country where the pre-war gold stand- 
ard had continued; the World Economic Conference ended in 
swift fiasco. In 1934 German rearmament went forward, and 
the leaders of the Nazi storm troops were slaughtered in the 
June purge; Dollfuss was killed in Austria, and Barthou in 
France; armed struggles against Fascism and reaction took place 
in Austria and Spain; in France Fascism was held back by the 
united working-class front and later the People's Front; the 
transformation of international political relations was signal- 
ised by the entry of the Soviet Union into the League of Na- 
tions. In 1935 Germany adopted its conscription law, in de- 
fiance of Versailles, followed by the Anglo-German Naval 
Agreement; the Franco-Soviet Pact revealed the new alignment 
of forces; Italy launched its war of aggression on Abyssinia, in 
defiance of the League; and Japan repudiated the Washington 
Naval Treaty. In the beginning of 1936, while Italy went for- 
ward with its war on Abyssinia, unchecked by the League's very 
weak economic sanctions, and Japan went forward with its ex- 
tending war on North China, the London Naval Conference 
was marked by the departure of Japan and registered the end of 
the Washington naval limitation system, Britain announced its 
new rearmament programme, and the German repudiation of 
Locarno and re-militarisation of the Rhineland opened a new 
crisis in European political relations. 

Eighteen years after the Armistice, sixteen years after the Ver- 
sailles Treaty, fourteen years after the Washington Treaties, 
eleven years after the restoration of the gold standard as a world 
standard, what remains of the post-war settlements? 

The Versailles Treaty was the treaty of the victor imperialist 
Powers of the West to hold down the rising German rival in 
permanent economic and military subjection. That aim has 
ended in complete failure. 


Britain, threatened before 1914 by the rising economic and 
naval challenge of Germany, prepared the elaborate encircle- 
ment system of the Entente and fought the war at a cost of a mil- 
lion dead and eight thousand millions of debt to defeat that 
challenge. In 1913 Britain still held first place in world exports 
with 13.11 per cent of the world total against 12.39 P er cent ^ or 
Germany and 12.56 per cent for the United States. The first ef- 
fects of the war and of Versailles struck down Germany. By 1924 
Germany had fallen to 5.75 per cent; but Britain had also fallen 
to 12.94 per cent, while the advantage had gone to the United 
States, which had risen to 16.45 P er cent - ^7 a 9 2 9 Germany had 
risen to 9.82 per cent and was once again pressing hard Britain, 
which had fallen further to 10.86 per cent, while the United 
States stood at 15.77 per cent. By 1930 German exports at 601 
million for the first time in history exceeded British at 570 
million, and this was continued in 1931 and 1932, until the Hit- 
ler regime brought down German exports. In respect of produc- 
tion by 1928, according to the Institut fur Konjunkturfor- 
schung, German production stood at 10.6 per cent of world pro- 
duction, while the British proportion was 8.5 per cent; the fig- 
ures for 1934 were 10.4 per cent for Germany, and 10.1 per cent 
for Britain. 

The whole system of reparations and war debts, which had 
been elaborately calculated with detailed schedules of payments 
for eighty years ahead, collapsed in 1931 with the Hoover mora- 
torium, completed by the Lausanne Conference ending repara- 
tions in 1932; in December 1932 Britain made a last war-debts 
payment in gold to the United States, made two token pay- 
ments in silver in 1933, and finally repudiated payment in 1934. 

On the military side Versailles lies equally in ruins. Britain 
fostered German rearmament (with the Daily Mail, which a de- 
cade and a half ago had daily proclaimed "The will cheat you 
yet, those Junkers/' leading the pro-German ranks); the disarm- 
ament clauses were finally repudiated by the German Military 
Law of 1935; the aerial disarmament clauses by the proclama- 
tion and rapid building up of the German Air Force; the naval 
disarmament clauses by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 
1935, which included a special clause permitting Germany to 

76 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

build submarines up to 100 per cent of the British level. The re- 
maining demilitarisation of the zone on the right bank of the 
Rhine was cancelled by the German military reoccupation of 
the zone in 1936, thus finally ending the military clauses of 

There remain only the territorial clauses of Versailles still in- 
tact, the new frontiers in Europe and the partition of the former 
German colonies; and these are now under the full offensive of 
the advancing revisionist forces with the demand for far-reach- 
ing changes of the existing European frontiers to build a new 
Mitteleuropa under Nazi domination, and for the return of 
colonies to Germany. 

What of the Locarno Treaty of the Western European Pow- 
ers, which constituted the main pillar of stabilisation and of the 
new period succeeding Versailles? The Locarno Treaty lies 
equally in ruins, following the German denunciation of it in 

What of the League of Nations? The United States never 
came in; Germany and Japan have passed out; Italy remains 
only nominally a member in defiance of its Covenant. There re- 
main only two leading imperialist Powers, Britain and France. 
The League of Nations revealed its impotence before the Jap- 
anese aggression on Manchuria in 1931, and again before the 
Italian aggression on Abyssinia in 1935. Over the future of the 
League hangs a question-mark. If to-day, despite its manifest 
weakness, some signs of new life begin to stir in this institution, 
it is only since it was joined by the Soviet Union, whose inclu- 
sion was never contemplated, and was indeed expressly exclud- 
ed (see the list of original members and "States invited to ac- 
cede to the Covenant") by the original Covenant. 

What remains of the Washington Treaties? The Washington 
Nine-Power Treaty, guaranteeing the integrity of China, has 
been torn to shreds by the Japanese invasion of China since 
1931. The Washington Naval Five-Power Treaty, with its con- 
tinuation in the London Three-Power Treaty of 1930, was shat- 
tered by the Japanese denunciation in 1935; and the London 
Naval Treaty of Britain, the United States and France in 1936 
marks the end of quantitative naval limitation, with the re- 


mains of parity reduced to an exchange of letters, containing an 
extremely vague and elastic promise, between Britain and the 
United States. 

The Kellogg Pact for the renunciation of war has been freely 
violated since its signature. 

Even such a secondary international pact of limitation as the 
1925 Protocol for the prohibition of poison-gas warfare has 
been already torn to shreds by the Italian action in Abyssinia. 

What remains of the restored gold standard and stabilisa- 
tion? It has given place to the departure from gold of all but 
three countries (with the hold of these increasingly precarious, 
and the near prospect of further departures), and to an intensity 
of currency war, economic instability and strangling of interna- 
tional trade without equal in the whole epoch of capitalism. 

It is evident on all sides that a new phase of the world situa- 
tion has succeeded to the old post-war era. The conditions of 
the old post-war era have passed away, unhonoured and unla- 
mented. New and intensified antagonisms and struggles are 
arising on every side. 

Chapter IV 



"Guns are more important than butter" 

GENERAL GOERiNG in January 1936 

. T THE ROOT of the problems of world organisation lie the 
problems of world economy. Existing world economy in the 
post-war period is still governed by capitalist relations; the exis- 
tence of socialist economy over one-sixth of the world has been 
able to immunise that sector from the phenomena of decline 
common to the capitalist five-sixths of the world, but is not yet 
extensive enough to change the dominant capitalist character of 
world economy as a whole. 

It is manifest to all that post-war capitalist economy is very 
sick. This much is agreed by all the rival doctors, however much 
they may differ as to their diagnosis of the disease. For a short 
period, during the years of temporary stabilisation on the eve of 
the world economic crisis, the belief was widely current that 
capitalism had overcome its post-war difficulties and was enter- 
ing on a new era of rapid advance. But the world economic cri- 
sis dealt these illusions a heavy blow, and compelled wider rec- 
ognition of the deeper contradictions of the present epoch. 

The decay of capitalism did not begin with the war of 1914. 
A closer analysis would show that this decay set in with the be- 
ginning of the imperialist era, when free trade capitalism gave 
place to the domination of monopoly, and capitalism in conse- 



quence ceased to be a progressive force for the development of 
production and became increasingly a fetter on the develop- 
ment of the productive forces. But the fuller "working out of the 
consequences of this process only began to force themselves on 
general attention since 1914, when the explosive force of the 
gathering contradictions had begun to shatter the whole fabric. 
From 1914 capitalism enters into the period of its decline and 

This transformation of post-war capitalist economy has 
forced itself on the attention of all in the present period. 

What in 1913 might have still appeared, with whatever con- 
tradictions and hardships, as a functioning and elaborately ad- 
justed mechanism of world production, trade and finance, ad- 
vancing with only slight interruptions to a continuous expan- 
sion of production and to ever closer world interdependence 
and interrelationships, has now revealed itself in the present 
stage as a system of extreme disequilibrium and discord, with 
downward trends of production over long periods, with an in- 
creasing gulf between productive power and actual production, 
and with centrifugal tendencies of break-up of closer world re- 
lations towards a system of restricted world trade, separate and 
competing financial bases of unstably related currencies, weak- 
ened international division of labour, and intensified warfare of 
the monopolist blocs. In fact these tendencies were already pres- 
ent in the germ in 1913; but they have only begun to reveal 
their full character and effects in the post-war period, especially 
after the world economic crisis. The fact that seven years after 
the outbreak of the world economic crisis, and four years after 
the passing of its lowest point, these tendencies are still strongly 
and even in some respects increasingly marked, indicates that 
these are no short-term factors of a temporary, passing distur- 
bance, but are deeply rooted characteristics of the present 

The recognition of this deeper transformation was for long 
obscured by the (still not completely vanished) tendency to re- 
gard 1913 as a "norm" from which capitalism has departed, and 
in consequence to find the causes of existing maladies in inci- 
dental, accidental disturbing elements, in the interference of ar- 

8o WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

bitrary "political" factors (supposedly separate from the eco- 
nomic forces of which they were the outcome and expression), 
or in particular errors of policy, rather than to see the present 
stage as the fuller working out of the inherent forces of the sys- 
tem as it existed already in 1913. 

The conception of the "return to pre-war" as the ideal gov- 
erned the years immediately after the war. This found charac- 
teristic expression at the time in the "normalcy" slogan of Presi- 
dent Harding in 1 92 i, the "tranquillity" slogan of Bonar Law in 
1922, or the Supreme Council Economic Memorandum of 1920, 
which dismissed the existing disorganisation as "the invariable 
result of war": 

*ln comparison with most wars the present situation is far 
from abnormal. . . . Taking the Allied countries as a whole, 
the recovery of industry has been remarkable. Nearly 18 
months have passed since hostilities terminated; and the reac- 
tion which necessarily followed the tense strain of the war is 
gradually passing. The citizens of every country are once 
again resuming the normal occupations of home life, and in 
their renewed labour the Conference sees a clear sign of re- 
newed prosperity/* 

("Declaration by the Supreme Council of the Peace 
Conference on the Economic Conditions of the 

World," 1920) 

Thus, during this first phase, the leading forces of capitalism 
saw only a temporary post-war disturbance to be solved by 
the return to "normal"; there was no understanding that the 
pre-war "normal" had vanished never to return. 1 

1 Reference may be made to the present writer's argument at the 
time, in the Labor Monthly of August 1921, criticising the assumptions 
of the slogan "Back to pre-war/' and insisting that "there will be no 
more normal years"; followed by a more detailed criticism of the 
Supreme Council's Memorandum, and of the false analogies with the 
post-Napoleonic period, and attempted demonstration of the permanent 
changes in the post-war economic situation, which would only increase 
as the war receded into the background, in the same journal for October 
1921. By 1927 the Report of the Geneva Economic Conference was 
condemning the illusion of "Back to pre-war": 


The second phase, after the process of reconstruction had 
been completed and the period of temporary stabilisation had 
begun, dispelled the old illusions, but gave rise to new ones. 
The completion of reconstruction began to lay bare the more 
permanent changes in the structure and relationships of post- 
war capitalism (partially surveyed in the Reports of the Bal- 
four Committee on Industry and Trade during this period); 
but the conception arose that out of the conditions of stabil- 
isation and rationalisation a new era of limitless capitalist ad- 
vance was opening which was increasingly overcoming the old 
crises and contradictions. The conceptions of this period were 
illustrated in the proceedings of the World Economic Confer- 
ence at Geneva in 1927. The Conference Report condemned 
the illusions of the "return to pre-war": 

"The passing away of temporary financial and economic 
difficulties which have hitherto almost monopolised public 
attention now enable us to see more clearly and to study 

"Immediately after the war, many people naturally assumed that 
the war and the war alone was the reason for the dislocation that 
emerged in the economic relations of individuals, of nations and of 
continents. A simple return to pre-war conditions seemed in the 
circumstances the appropriate objective of economic policy which 
would be sufficient to cure the current difficulties. It is an instinctive 
tendency of mankind to turn to the past rather than to the future 
and even at a moment when an old order is being displaced, to revert 
to former ideas and to attempt to restore the traditional state of 
affairs. Experience has shown, however, that the problems left by the 
war cannot be solved in so simple a manner." 

(Final Report of the World Economic Conference, 1927, p. 15) 

As always, bourgeois economic wisdom trails behind the event, but 
remains unable to understand the present. By 1927 very different prob- 
lems were requiring to be faced in the shape of the new economic 
forces which were preparing the world conomic crisis; but the Geneva 
Economic Conference remained blind to this situation (partially dealt 
with, at the same time as the Geneva Economic Conference, in the 
present writer's Notes in the Labour Monthly for July 1927, demonstrat- 
ing how "from the very conditions of stabilisation and partial recovery" 
were arising the premises for a "new capitalist crisis" which would 
be "no longer merely a sequel, but the prelude of new war problems"). 
A survey of the successive declarations of the Communist InteraationU, 
and of the leading Marxist economic theorists such as E. Varga, would 
show that the successive stages of the post-war period were correctly 
analysed and foreseen, phase by phase, by Marxism, and that the same 
cannot be said of any bourgeois economic treatment during these years. 

8s WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

these more deeply rooted changes in the economic situation 
of the world; it is hopeless to try to solve such problems by 
striving after the conditions of 1913." 

(Report of the World Economic Conference, 1927) 

But the Conference Report placed its hopes in the supposed 
growing movement away from policies of "economic isola- 
tion" ("the opinion of the world is beginning to understand 
that prosperity is not something which can be enjoyed in 
small compartments") and in the advance of rationalisation 
("the Conference has unanimously recognised the benefits of 
rationalisation and of scientific management, and it asserts the 
urgent need of greater, more far-reaching and better co-ordin- 
ated efforts in this field*'). The unsound basis of the tempo- 
rary stabilisation analysed in the previous chapter and the 
seeds of approaching crisis inherent in the process of ration- 
alisation were not recognised by the Conference. 

The illusions of this period received typical illustration in 
a standard work of reference issued on the eve o the world 
economic crisis, the Fourteenth Edition of the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica (still current at the time of writing), which, ap- 
pearing in 1929, contained an article on the subject of "Cap- 
italism" celebrating the triumph of modern post-war capital- 
ism in overcoming or mitigating the "former violence" of 
crises by its superior world organisation: 

"Capitalism is still accused of responsibility for avoidable 
unemployment, arising from periodic alternations of cli- 
maxes and depressions in trade activity, of 'booms' and 
'slumps.' It is certain, however, that though there must al- 
ways be some tidal movement of rise and fall, the former 
violence of these rhythms is now much abated in times of 
peace owing to longer experience and fuller knowledge; to 
swifter information in every part of the globe of what is 
happening in every other; to quicker transport, to better- 
calculated control exercised by the great trusts and syndi- 
cates as indirectly by the great banking combinations; and 


to the better adjustment altogether of world forces of sup- 
ply and demand." 

( Encyclopedia Britannica, i4th Edition, Vol IV, p. 805, 

article "Capitalism**) 

It was in consequence only the breaking of the world eco- 
nomic crisis that began the process of awakening to the basic 
contradictions and new problems that had developed. The 
world economic crisis came like a bolt from the blue on the 
capitalist world. "In the summer of 1929," declared the Brit- 
ish Government Note of December ist, 1932, to the United 
States, "the storm that was brewing was not yet visible" (in 
fact the resolutions of the Tenth Plenum of the Communist 
International in July 1929 specifically predicted its approach 
and character). The effect, as the crisis developed and as the 
early prophecies of its rapid overcoming met with disappoint- 
ment, was to produce a universal confusion and disarray of 
bourgeois opinion. During the phase of the lowest depths of 
the crisis, from the end of 1931 and through 1932, a sense of 
hopelessness and pessimism was widespread in ruling expres- 
sion. The attempt was made to find the causes and solution of 
the crisis in isolated, secondary factors, in the effects of repara- 
tions and war debts, in tariffs, in monetary policy, in the dis- 
tribution of gold, etc. These rival "theories" of the crisis in 
fact reflected the conflicting interests of different sections of 
finance-capital or of rival imperialist groupings. 1 In propor- 

lf rhe confusion of ruling opinion, following the economic crisis, was 
illustrated in the contradictory plethora of "solutions" offered on all 
sides for the existing d-itemma^- "The only lasting step," announced the 
Basel Experts Committee's Report in December 1931, to solve "the 
increasing financial paralysis of the world," is "the adjustment of all 
reparations and war debts." But a year after the cancellation of these 
by the Hoover moratorium, the Economist had to register on May 14th, 
1952, that "a year ago it was possible to believe as Mr. Hoover and 
many bankers and statesmen believedthat the lifting of the burden 
of reparations and war debts would be such a relief to the world that 
it would turn the tide of depression. That belief is no longer possible; 
it is abundantly clear that action on a much wider scale is necessary." 
The "only one way out," affirmed the Midland Bank Review in January 
1932, is "the way of a rising price level." "The only alternative solution," 
declared Revues in a lecture on "The World Economic Crisis and the 

84 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tion, however, as tie particular measures attempted of can- 
cellation of reparations and war debts, departure from gold 

\Vav of Escape" in February 1932, to "the disappearance of the existing 
credit system," is "a worldwide organized inflation." "The way of escape 
from economic crises," announced Sir William Beveridge in a Halley 
Stewart lecture on the same subject in the same month, "was by way 
of international action to suppress the anarchy of purchasing power and 
to keep the liberty of production and exchange." "The only way to re- 
newed prosperity," proclaimed a British Liberal Free Trade Manifesto 
in the same month, signed by Lord Cowdray, J. A. Hobson, Sir George 
Paish, F. W. Hirst, H. G. Wells and others, "is the removal of all hin- 
drances to the free exchange of goods and commodities." 

Needless to say, the reviews of American, French, German capitalism, 
etc., and their theorists differed markedly from the British as to the 
causes of the crisis and its solution, whether in respect of reparations and 
debts, of gold, of currency, of tariffs or of other factors. "The causes of 
this depression lie in much more potent factors than these debts trans- 
actions," affirmed the United States reply to the British Note in Decem- 
ber 1932. Cancellation could not be considered, proclaimed President 
Hoover in a parallel Press statement; but "the recovery of prices and 
trade" might be achieved, not through cancellation, but through 
"tangible compensation" from the debtor countries in the shape of 
"expansion for the markets of American agriculture and labour." "I 
do not believe there is any quick or spectacular remedy for the ills from 
which the world is suffering," declared Andrew Mellon, reputed the 
world's wealthiest man, in a speech at a Pilgrims* dinner on his recep- 
tion as United States Ambassador in London in April 1932, "nor do I 
share the belief that there is anything fundamentally wrong with the 
social system." The major cause of the crisis, argued the French econo- 
mist, Charles Rist, and the ex-Governor of the Banque de France, 
Moreau, in a controversy with Sir Henry Strakosch in The Times in 
January 1932, lay in "British presumption" in endeavouring to re-establish 
the pound at par -without any adequate economic basis. "The principal 
cause" of the crisis, explained the French financier and politician, 
Caillaux, in a lecture on 'The World Crisis" to the Royal Society of 
Arts in London in March 1932, was not "the defective working of the 
monetary mechanism" or "the distribution of gold/' but "a superabun- 
dance of mechanical appliances." The solution of the crisis, argued the 
same authority in an article on "L'Avenir de ITEurope" in the French 
financial journal Le Capital in the beginning of the year, lay in extended 
colonial development in Africa. The solution of the crisis, declared the 
protagonist of Pan-Europe, Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, in an article in 
the Vienna Neue Freie Presse in the same month, lay in the return of the 
former German colonies to Germany. The cause of the crisis, declared 
the White Guard propagandists, lay in the Soviet Union, and its solu- 
tion in the conquest of the rich territories there to be exploited. 

And so on without end, to take only a few examples of leading 
opinion, without taking into account the myriad patent medicines of 
the faddists and the cranks. The bourgeois "theories'* of the crisis thus 
simply reflected the march of capitalist politics in the crisis, and trans- 
ferred to the ideal plane the sharpening imperialist antagonisms. 


to a managed currency, etc., failed to bring any basic solution 
and only accentuated the underlying conflicts, bourgeois pol- 
icy turned increasingly to the new forms characteristic of the 
present stage, the line of intensified monopolist organisation 
for intensified economic warfare, with increasing emphasis to- 
wards preparation for future armed warfare, as exemplified 
in the policies of the Roosevelt regime, of the British National 
Government, or of German "National Socialism." 

Thus we reach to the present stage in which the basic 
antagonisms of capitalist world economy are brought out with 
extreme sharpness. Even as the low levels of the economic 
crisis are left behind, there is no longer recovery of the old 
"normal" type to a new high level; world production, seven 
years after the opening of the crisis, has still barely reached 
the level of 1929 (in the third quarter of 1935 still 17.7 per 
cent below 1929, according to the New York Annalist Index); 
world trade remains heavily below the level of 1929 (in the 
third quarter of 1935 still 23.9 per cent below 1929, according 
to the League of Nations Index); mass unemployment con- 
tinues in all countries; and even this very limited degree of 
recovery brings already in view the menace of a new crisis in 
a number of countries. The inequality of capitalist develop- 
ment is carried to an extreme point; the degree of partial re- 
covery in the different countries is extremely uneven; all forms 
of economic warfare are intensified; and rearmament and war- 
preparations play an increasing part in the economy of all 

The whole experience of the post-war period, of the world 
economic crisis, and of the present phase succeeding to the 
world economic crisis and depression, is thus demonstrating 
with increasing sharpness the incompatibility of the forms of 
capitalist economy with the urgent tasks of world organisa- 
tion, and the growing conflict between the productive forces, 
pressing towards world organisation, and the fetters of exist- 
ing capitalist relations. 

86 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 


When Cobden set out to negotiate the Commercial Treaty 
between England and France in 1860, he wrote to Gladstone: 

"To improve the moral and political relations of France 
and England by bringing them into greater intercourse and 
increased commercial dependence I would walk barefoot 
from Calais to Paris/' 

(quoted in W. E. Williams' The Rise of Gladstone to the 
Leadership of the Liberal Party, 1859-1^"" 

The faith in the international unifying r61e of capitalist econ- 
omic relations which here finds expression has long vanished. 
It is the custom to-day for those who have succeeded Cobden 
and Gladstone as the leaders of capitalism to sneer at the vul- 
gar shopkeeper illusions of their predecessors. But in fact 
those illusions of trading, manufacturing cosmopolitanism 
were by comparison more generous than the typical militarist, 
usurer, freebooting outlook of modern imperialism. The Lib- 
eral bourgeoisie of that age, even while they pursued the 
policy which corresponded to the interests of their domina- 
tion and maximum exploitation of the world, believed that 
the realisation of the goal of universal free trade and inter- 
national capitalist relations at which they aimed would shat- 
ter national frontiers and lead to world peace, harmony and 
unity "the parliament of man and the federation of the 

Very different was the outcome from their dreams. Liberal 
capitalism, by its own inner laws of development, through 
the very process of accumulation and concentration of capital 
to which the system of laisser-faire gave free play, gave birth 
to monopoly-capitalism or imperialism. The politics of mon- 
opoly are by its very nature different from those of Liberal 
free trade. In place of pacific trade penetration on a basis of 
free competition, the policy of monopoly is the policy of ex- 
clusive domination, and is thus increasingly the policy of con- 
quest and violence, of the use of political power and armed 


power to promote economic ends. The export o capital, as 
opposed to the simple sale of goods, requires in the last resort 
political domination to ensure the regular payment of its trib- 
ute. The fight for colonial areas of exploitation requires in- 
creasing armed forces, not only for the conquest and subjec- 
tion of the colonial peoples, but still more for the conflict 
with rival imperialist groupings. Thus the State, with all its 
diplomatic and military power, becomes ever more closely as- 
sociated with the operations of monopoly-capitalism. Every 
act of monopoly-capitalism becomes essentially an act of poll- 
tics, involving either openly or in the near background the 
armed power of the State. The day of "pure economics" is 
over. (Hence the naivete and blindness of those professional 
economists who in the age of imperialism complain of the in- 
trusion of "political factors" as cutting across their dream of 
a "pure" "economic" capitalism.) 

While the old forms of competition do not disappear with 
the development of monopoly, but continue alongside it, the 
advance to monopoly means the advance to new and intenser 
forms of competition and conflict. Competition develops from 
the relatively peaceful undercutting rivalry of individual mer- 
chants and manufacturers to the terrific conflict of modern 
highly organised concentrated States, using every weapon of 
armed force and unscrupulous diplomacy, and culminating in 
world war. The greater the scale of capitalism, the greater the 
concentration, the more intense grows the conflict, the more 
violent and desperate the means employed; as the power of 
production grows greater, the available markets relatively 
diminish, the competition of exports increases, and the spheres 
of the earth's surface for the supply of raw materials and for 
new exploitation are all marked out. 

The age of Cobden and peaceful politics gives way to the 
age of Chamberlain and aggressive imperialism. The age of 
Chamberlain gives way to the age of Lloyd George and the 
world war. The world war gives way to the nightmare politics 
of the post-war period of Versailles, reparations, inflation, 
counter-revolution, Fascism, Mussolini and Hitler. 

Capitalism reveals itself in fact, with the increase of con- 

88 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

centration and the power of production, not as a growingly 
harmonious and organised system of world production, but as 
a growingly violent system of antagonisms. The inequality of 
capitalism grows continuously greater: the rich grow richer 
and the poor poorer; and the capitalist nations and States 
themselves become increasingly differentiated into the more 
and the less successful in the scramble for the division of the 
world, with a growing gulf between them, and a continual 
diminution in the ranks of the independent exploiter States 
as nation after nation becomes openly or hiddenly subject to 
the stronger. 

Thus the dream of world unity through capitalism already 
received its death-blow with the opening of the age of im- 

Nevertheless, this real state of affairs remained partially 
hidden from general recognition, not only during the "armed 
peace" which preceded the war, but even after the war. The 
conception that through the operations of world capitalism, 
of international capitalist finance, of international trusts, etc., 
the economic bonds were being drawn closer for world peace 
and world unity continued to find expression. The reason for 
this lay in the dual character of the process of imperialism. 
On the one hand, the operations of imperialism did draw 
closer, at any rate until the most recent period, the economic 
network of the world and carried still further the interna- 
tional division of labour, even though on an antagonistic basis 
of exploitation and subjection. On the other hand, the devel- 
opment of imperialism meant the rising antagonism and con- 
flict of the rival imperialist groupings, expressed in intensify- 
ing trade war, tariff wars, struggle for concessions and areas 
of exploitation, and ultimate armed conflict. These two ten- 
dencies were not opposing tendencies, but the two sides of a 
single process. And it was the character of rising antagonism 
that was the decisive character. 

The mythical conception of a growingly harmonious "inter- 
national" capitalism, upon the basis of the uniform gold 
standard and the increasingly intricate network of financial 


interrelations across State frontiers, was widespread before the 
war, "Capital knows no country," as the half-true saying goes, 
and flowed easily across the world in the search of the maxi- 
mum profit. But even the degree of stability and apparently 
harmonious working of the pre-war system, which provided 
the basis for these illusions of a growing world harmony, was 
in reality based upon a temporary and rapidly disappearing 
foundation of the British pre-war financial supremacy. Lon- 
don was the still unchallenged financial centre of the world. 
Britain was the world's creditor, and continuously absorbed 
its tribute, either in reinvestment or in the rising excess of 
imports. As the Memorandum of the Federation of British 
Industries on Monetary Policy, issued in 1933, declared after 
the event with a considerable measure of truth: 

"The world gold standard as it operated in the pre-war 
period was in fact predominantly a sterling standard." 

The same Memorandum continued with the complaint that 
this system was "shattered beyond recall" by the appearance 
of rival imperialist Powers challenging the British supremacy: 

"The uncontrolled association, through the gold stan- 
dard, of other countries having independent national plans, 
such as France and Germany, with the British plan was an 
unstable and highly artificial economic phenomenon. The 
war shattered that association, probably beyond recall. The 
emergence, since the war, of the tLSA. as a leading creditor 
country has still further complicated the situation. 

"The breakdown of the gold standard in Great Britain 
in September 1931, marks the final failure of the attempt, 
probably foredoomed from the first, to recreate after the 
war the pre-war international monetary system." 

The apparent stability of the pre-war system was in fact the 
reflection, not of harmony, but of British supremacy, which 
was not yet broken, though increasingly challenged. To this 

go WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

extent the full effects of the rising antagonisms, which were 
eventually to disrupt the stability, were still partially veiled 
from view in the pre-war period. 

These conditions could no longer continue in the post-war 
period. The British supremacy was broken. The fight of the 
imperialist blocs, and in particular of London, Paris and New 
York to be the world's financial centre, was open. The con- 
ditions for stability had vanished. 

Nevertheless, this situation was also veiled for a short period 
during the phase of temporary stabilisation, which once again 
gave rise to even reinforced illusions of a growing "interna- 
tional" capitalism. The theory of "ultra-imperialism," or the 
supposed advance to a pacific world unity of imperialism (fur- 
ther discussed in the next chapter), found ready soil. The In- 
ternational Bank, or "Bank of International Settlements,** 
promulgated by the Young Plan in 1929 and set up in 1930, 
was regarded as the nucleus of an internationally directed 
world financial centre. The Young Report declared: 

"In the natural course of development it is to be expected 
that the bank will in time become an organisation, not 
simply or even predominantly concerned with the handling 
of reparations, but also with furnishing to the world of in- 
ternational commerce and finance important facilities hith- 
erto lacking. Especially it is to be hoped that it will become 
an increasingly dose and valuable link in the co-operation 
of central banking institutions generally, a co-operation es- 
sential to the continuing stability of the world's credit struc- 

In fact, even the process of setting up the International Bank, 
and the question of its site, revealed the sharp battle of New 
York, London and Paris; while the immediate sequel to its 
establishment, so far from seeing a greater "stability of the 
world's credit structure," saw its greatest collapse since the 


A leading German financial authority wrote in 1925: 

"The solution of the problem of competition is not to 
be found in the strangling of productive forces. . . . Rather 
must it be sought in the international organisation and ra- 
tionalisation of the processes of production. That which is 
so obvious in the case of the Deutsche Werftthe technical 
superiority must be made determinative in international 
production; not as though every nation formed a closed ec- 
onomic unit to itself, but instead by a common understand- 
ing on the basis of the international division of labour. The 
tendency towards 'national economic dictatorship at any 
price* must be abandoned, and each economic unit return 
to the form of production to which it is naturally predes- 

(DR. OSKAR MOHRUS, Manager of the Dresdner Bank's 
Financial and Statistical Department, in the 

Financial Times, May 4th, 1925) 

Here under the form of a plea for the "international organisa- 
tion of production" the illusion of any such conception of an 
agreed international capitalist organisation is revealed. For 
the actual substance behind the professed plea for "interna- 
tional organisation" is the demand that the "technical superi- 
ority" of German industry shall be recognised and given the 
place in the world market that it merits. The "international" 
plea is the cover for the offensive of a particular section of 
monopoly capitalism. Despite the declarations against "closed 
economic units" and "national economic dictatorship," the 
"international" line of the Dresdner Bank necessarily finds its 
final outcome in the line of Hitler and Schacht. 

Even as late as 1931 the illusion that a new basis of perman- 
ent stability and world financial interdependence had been 
achieved, ruling out the possibility of the use of "political and 
military power" for economic ends, found expression in the 
following statement of the British publicist, Norman Angell 
(who has continued in the post-war period, as in the pre-war 

gs WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

period, to endeavour to apply the conceptions of free trade 
capitalism to the conditions of imperialism, and on this basis 
to urge the supposedly mistaken character of the violent and 
military policies of imperialism): 

"Political and military power can no longer be used as an 
instrument of economic exploitation. Speaking broadly, you 
cannot in the modern world of an international gold stan- 
dard, an interdependent worldwide banking system, inter- 
national trusts, international cartels, use military force to 
seize wealth and transfer trade as you once could." 

(NORMAN ANGELL, in The United States and Great Brit- 
ain, a symposium published by the Chicago Council of 

Foreign Relations, 

This contribution was dated May 25th, 1931. In September 
1931 Britain went off the gold standard, the "modern world 
of an international gold standard" passed out of view, and 
Japan seized Manchuria by military force for purposes of 
economic exploitation, subsequently using its military control 
to establish a Government oil monopoly in defiance of British 
and American protests. 

In reality even the short-lived phase of temporary stabilisa- 
tion in the post-war period also, as in the pre-war period, re- 
flected the temporary predominance, although on a much 
more unstable basis, of a particular monopolist grouping, 
American capitalism. Between 1925 and 1930 the United States 
replaced Britain as the world's largest foreign investor. But 
this lead was far from secure; Britain, which still retained the 
position of holding the largest total of over-seas capital, was 
straining every nerve to re-establish its lead in the export of 
new capital; and the instability of the whole basis was re- 
vealed in the subsequent crash. When the outward flow of 
American capital dried up, the gold standard crashed. 

The effects of the world economic crisis shattered the post- 
war illusions of the growth of "international" capitalism or 
supposed development of capitalism towards closer interna- 
tional unity and interweaving of interests. The war of the im- 


perialist blocs was laid fully bare. The uniform gold standard 
gave place to a battle of competing currencies. Trade wars 
and tariff wars were carried to an intensity of new forms pre- 
viously unknown. The tendencies to "isolationism" or so- 
called "national self-sufficiency" or "autarchy," that is, to clos- 
ing in of the monopolist areas in order to strengthen the econ- 
omic and strategic position for the world conflict, became 
strongly marked, alike in Nazi Germany, in Roosevelt Amer- 
ica and in the policies of the National Government in Britain. 
For a period even a reverse tendency set in, from that char- 
acteristic of the phase of stabilisation, towards a breaking up 
of the world market and heavy reduction of international 
trade, and towards a drying up of the flow of capital export. 
The future of these tendencies is bound up with the general 
development of the international situation as a whole. What 
is evident is that the economic and political war, preparing 
ultimate armed war, of the rival imperialisms has reached an 
extreme intensity and openness. 


The character of the present stage of capitalism, after the 
ending of the phase of temporary stabilisation, is thus one of 
intensified antagonisms and instability. 

At the root of the whole process is the increasing war be- 
tween the expanding productive forces and the restrictive shell 
of capitalist relationships. From being in its early stages the 
main locomotive of development of the productive forces, cap- 
italism in its era of decline has become more and more visibly 
a fetter on the further productive development that could 
now, with the present degree of knowledge and technical ad- 
vance, be rapidly achieved if the obstacles of private property 
relationships were removed. 

Speaking at a dinner of the British Chemical Manufactur- 
ers' Association in February 1935, Lord Melchett, the head of 
Imperial Chemical Industries, declared: 

94 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

"I do not think any technical man would deny that it is 
physically possible to double the production of every im- 
portant raw material and every important manufactured 
commodity within a period of the next ten years. It is a per- 
fectly practical problem from a purely technical point of 

"If that be true, why should not the world very rapidly 
become twice as prosperous as it is to-day? The outstanding 
and obvious reason is that we have no economic machinery 
capable of expanding at anything like that rate." 

Very different was the actual policy of capitalism in the face 
of these enormous possibilities of productive development, 
capable of rapidly removing poverty throughout the world. As 
Roosevelt declared in his presidential election campaign in 

"Our industry is already built up. It is a question whether 
it has not been built up too much. Whoever wants to build 
new factories and new streets, and to organise new trusts, 
would be more of a hindrance than a help to us. The days 
of the great initiators, of the finance titans, are gone. Our 
task is not to find and exploit new natural wealth, and not 
to produce a still greater quantity of commodities, but to 
learn how to carry on with the existing resources and the 
existing factories." 

(FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech at San Francisco in 1932, 
quoted in Gilbert Seldes' The Years of the Locust, 


Similarly, Neville Chamberlain for the British Government 
made his declaration at the World Economic Conference in 
June 1933, that "to allow production to go on unchecked and 
unregulated in these modern conditions, when it could almost 
at a moment's notice be increased to an almost indefinite ex- 
tent, was absolute folly." 

These declarations, which can be paralleled on every side 
in the present period, sound the death-knell of capitalism as 


a productive form. Their significance is underlined by the 
simultaneous enormous advance of production in the Soviet 
Union, where the expansion o production meets no checks in 
the limits of consumption, since production is socially organ- 
ised for use. Between 1929 and 1934, according to the report 
of Molotov to the Seventh Soviet Congress in January 1935, 
the industrial production of the Soviet Union rose by 229 per 
cent, at the same time as that of the capitalist world fell by 24 
per cent. 

The restricted utilisation of the productive forces was a 
marked feature of post-war capitalism even before the world 
economic crisis of 1929. "We appear to be in a condition of 
stability at a level of production considerably below the cap 
acity of the national capital and labour force," declared the 
London and Cambridge Economic Service Bulletin of March 
23rd, 1928. This condition was not confined to Britain. In a 
survey entitled America's Capacity to Produce, undertaken by 
Edwin G. Nourse and Associates for the Brookings Institu- 
tion, Washington, and published in 1935, the conclusion was 
reached that between 1925 and 1929 from 17 per cent to 20 
per cent of the capacity of available plant was not utilised. On 
the basis of careful calculations the authors estimate that tech- 
nically production in 1929 could have exceeded actual output 
by 20 per cent, and that the income of 15 million families 
could have been increased by $1,000 (or roughly 4 a week) 
each. Between 1922 and 1928 the blast-furnaces of the United 
States were worked at an annual average of 67 per cent of pro- 
ducing capacity; the percentage for open-hearth furnaces was 
73.8, for Bessemer steel production 65.4, and for electric furn- 
aces 41.6. In Germany steel production from 1926 to 1929 
averaged an annual 86 per cent of producing capacity. All this 
was during the "boom." 

The world economic crisis gave an enormous extension to 
this failure to utilise the productive forces. In addition to the 
compulsory idleness of factories, plant, shipping, etc., and of 
tens of millions of workers, this period saw inaugurated for 
the first time on a gigantic scale by all the leaders of capital- 
ism and main governments of capitalism wholesale restriction 

96 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

and limitation policies, made possible only by the monopolist 
basis or by direct State action, and even actual destruction of 
raw material and agricultural products, ploughing up of 
crops, bounties for non-production, dismantling of plants and 
shipyards, wrecking of spindles, etc. The examples of this are 
well known, and their significance needs no emphasis. 

In the period of depression succeeding the crisis the under- 
utilisation of productive capacity markedly continued. In 
1934, according to an estimate of the German Institut fur 
Konjunkturforschung issued in March 1935, 42 per cent of the 
productive capacity in the United States was unused, 42 per 
cent in Canada, 38 per cent in France, 32 per cent in Italy, 27 
per cent in Germany, and 12 per cent in Britain. 

While the existing contradictions have forced these reac- 
tionary policies of restriction and limitation upon monopoly- 
capitalism, such policies can provide no permanent solution 
to the contradictions. On the contrary, the accumulation of 
capital seeking outlet, no less than the growth of productive 
power and continuation of the process of rationalisation and 
speeding up in order to economise in the costs of production, 
ceaselessly drives to expansion, and beats against all policies 
of restriction. This drive to expansion finds its expression in 
the intensified conflict of the imperialist blocs, which reaches 
to new heights since the world economic crisis. The old trade 
wars and tariff wars are carried forward to new intensity and 
take on new forms of elaborate systems of quotas, licences, 
prohibitions, currency restrictions and every form of direct 
State action to control the movement of trade, benefit allies 
and injure rivals. 

Through the whole post-war period a long series of inter- 
national conferences have passed solemn and unanimous reso- 
lutions deploring the growth of tariffs and restrictions on 
trade. Notable in this record have been the resolutions of the 
Brussels Financial Conference in 1920, the International 
Bankers' Manifesto in 1926, the resolutions of the World 
Economic Conference at Geneva in 1927, the attempted Euro- 
pean Tariff Truce in 1930, and the Preparatory Committee's 
Memoranda prepared for the World Economic Conference in 


1933 which ended in breakdown. These paper resolutions, re- 
flecting the spurious agreement of the monopolists in deplor- 
ing each other's tariffs, have been continuously accompanied 
by the growth of tariffs and restrictions, reflecting the real 
forces of conflict. 

Even in the period of stabilisation between 1925 and 1929, 
when the argument of currency inequalities and variations as 
a ground for increased tariffs was largely removed, the average 
level of tariffs, according to the League of Nations calcula- 
tions, showed increases in Germany by 29 per cent, in France 
by 38 per cent, in Belgium by 50 per cent, in England by 112 
per cent (actual level from 4 per cent to 8 per cent), while 
in the United States the Fordney-McCumber tariff of 1922 had 
already established a crushing increase. By 1927 the average 
ad valorem tariff on manufactured goods stood at 20 per cent 
in Germany, 21 per cent in France and 34 per cent in the 
United States. 

The effects of the world economic crisis enormously carried 
this process forward. The United States led the way with the 
Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which imposed heavy in- 
creases and evoked protests from twenty-nine Governments. 
In 1932 Britain adopted general protection, followed by the 
Ottawa agreements. In the same year France both raised its 
import duties and established a system of quota restrictions 
on a large variety of manufactured and semi-manufactured 
articles. In September 1932 Germany adopted a new tariff 
with an increase of duties in many cases by 100 per cent. The 
succeeding years have seen the development of a large network 
of restrictions, leaving the old tariff methods far behind, not 
only through devices of emergency tariffs, which can be im- 
posed or increased by administrative decree, but still more 
through systems of quotas, prohibitions, and foreign exchange 
restrictions, as well as through the fetters of bilateral trade 

In 1926 the so-called International Bankers* Manifesto, 
signed by a host of leading names of bankers and trust mag- 
nates in Britain, and to a lesser extent in other countries, had 
issued "A Plea for the Removal of Restrictions upon Euro- 

98 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

pean Trade." "Production as a whole has been diminished/' 
urged the Manifesto, on account of "false ideals of national 
interests" regarding "trading as a form of war." It wound up 
with the call: 

"The establishment of economic freedom is the best hope 
of restoring the commerce and the credit of the world." 

Sufficient comment on the value of this Manifesto is afforded 
by the fact that its signatories, the knights of this crusade for 
"economic freedom," were precisely the leaders of monopoly- 
capital, a Morgan, a Finlay, a Schacht, a Vickers or a Weir, 
who were not only actively engaged in stamping out the re- 
mains of freedom of competition at home, but were equally 
the most active in pressing forward trade war abroad, and in 
all their respective countries, except Britain at that stage, were 
directly upholding heavy tariffs. 1 

Four years later, in 1930, the British bankers (alone this 
time and without any international allies) issued a new mani- 
festo in which they disclaimed the old. They said: 

"Bitter experience has taught Great Britain that the 
hopes expressed four years ago in a plea for the removal of 
restrictions upon European trade have failed to be realised. 

"The restrictions have been materially increased, and the 

1 Needless to say, the organs of reformism throughout Europe found 
in this Bankers' Manifesto fresh proof of the triumph of "'international 
capital/* displacing the previous divisions of capitalism. Thus the Daily 
Herald wrote in its editorial on October soth, 1926, with reference to 
the Manifesto: 

"The trusts themselves are becoming international. This is the in- 
ternationalism, not of labour, not even of Manchester commercialism, 
but of international finance seeking a new means to the stabilisa- 
tion of capitalism. . . . There is to be no longer competition, but 
co-operation in the double exploitation of the workers as producers 
and as consumers." 

The subsequent events, no less than the fate of the Manifesto, have 
sufficiently answered this failure to understand the real character of 
imperialism as a system of antagonistic groupings of monopoly capital- 
ism, whose advance increases, instead of diminishing the inner divisions 
and conflicts of capitalism. 


sale of surplus foreign products in the British market has 
steadily grown. 

"While we retain the hope of an ultimate extension of 
the area of free trade throughout the world, we believe that 
the immediate step for securing and extending the market 
for British goods lies in reciprocal trade agreements between 
the nations constituting the British Empire. 

"As a condition of securing these agreements Great Bri- 
tain must retain her open market for all Empire imports, 
while being prepared to impose duties on all imports from 
all other countries." 

This marked the turning-point for British policy. By the im- 
position of a complete tariff in Britain in 1932, and by the 
Ottawa agreements of the same year endeavouring to draw 
a fence around the Empire, the last remains of free trade van- 
ished from the earth. The fight of imperialism had entered 
on a new intensity. 

The rising struggle of each imperialist Power since the 
world economic crisis to force down imports and force up ex- 
ports resulted in an intensity of contradiction which reflected 
itself in the falling figures of world trade even after the lowest 
depth of the crisis had been passed. The total of world ex- 
ports, measured in millions of gold dollars at the old parity, 
fell from 33,021 in 1929 to 26,483 in 1930, to 18,908 in 1931, 
to 12,895 in 1932, to 11,740 in 1933, and to 11,364 in 1934, or 
one third of the level of 1929. This gold valuation, however, 
to some extent exaggerates the drop; in terms of sterling, it 
represents a drop of 45 per cent, and, allowing for price 
changes, it represents a drop in physical volume of 22 per 
cent (Review of World Trade, 1934, League of Nations, 1936). 

Already by 1931 the leading London financial organ, the 
Economist, was lamenting (in its issue of November yth, 

"Cabinet after Cabinet all round Europe is seeking des- 
perately to 'correct the balance' by restricting imports and 

ioo WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

encouraging exports by all means in its power. The spec- 
tacle of Europe is one of a group of countries all straining 
their efforts to sell, in order to meet foreign obligations, yet 
preventing other nations from attaining the same object by 
selling to them. Along that path lies ultimately the cessation 
of international trade and the bankruptcy of the world." 

In fact, however, this abstractly logical continuation of the 
line to zero and "the cessation of international trade and the 
bankruptcy of the world" leaves out of account the real forces 
of imperialist conflict. As the subsequent years have abundant- 
ly shown, the increasing drive to so-called "national self-suffi- 
ciency" is by no means a drive to isolation and the cessation 
of international contact; it is, on the contrary, the drive to 
intensified conflict for the conquest of the world market, and, 
above all, the economic and strategic preparation for battle 
for the domination of the world. 


A special aspect of the present stage of imperialist relations, 
and of the existing instability and disintegration, is the cur- 
rency conflict. This aspect reflects all the existing imperialist 
antagonisms, and especially that one which is the most impor- 
tant and finally dominant, the Anglo-American antagonism. 

The war threw down London from its international finan- 
cial domination, but without establishing New York securely 
as its successor. When the pound was "unpegged" after the 
war from its artificially maintained war-time parity with the 
gold dollar, its weakness was at once apparent. But the report 
of the Cunliffe Committee in December 1919 definitely set the 
aim to re-conquer the old position: 

"Increased production, cessation of Government borrow- 
ing and decreased expenditure both by the Government 
and by each individual member of the nation are the first 
essentials to recovery. These must be associated with the 


restoration of the pre-war methods of controlling the cur- 
rency and credit system of the country for the purpose of re- 
establishing at an early date a free market for gold in Lon- 

(Final Report of the Committee on Currency and 
Foreign Exchanges After the War, 1919) 

Britain strained ever}' nerve to re-establish the old basis. 
While the other European countries met their post-war diffi- 
culties by inflating and depreciating their currencies, in Bri- 
tain the opposite course was pursued, and by 1925 the pound 
was finally re-established at the old gold parity, even though 
at the cost of laying heavy burdens on home industry and on 
the workers and doubling the incomes of the rentier sections. 
The governing objective of this policy was the fight against 
the United States for world financial domination. In restoring 
the gold standard, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
Churchill, explained in Parliament in the debate on May 4th, 
1925, on the question of the restoration of the gold standard 
and the danger of dependence on the United States: 

"It would be impossible for London to retain its position 
as the centre of the British Empire and world finance unless 
it were able to march with the movement in the direction 
of establishing a common foundation for all international 
transactions. . . . We were often told that the gold stan- 
dard would shackle us to the United States. It would shackle 
us to reality." 

And again: 

"Whether we went on the gold standard or not, our in- 
terests were profoundly and intimately involved in those of 
the United States. Therefore it was not a question of 
whether the return to the gold standard made us dependent 
on the United States, but whether it made us more depen- 
dent, or dependent in an unhealthy or subservient manner. 
The answer to that question seemed to depend on whether 

WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

we would ourselves be stronger on the gold standard or not. 
"Britain and her Dominions together constituted an 
enormous power, a power so great and so comprehensive 
that it was strong enough to exist side by side in amicable 
association with even a larger economic and financial power 
without prejudicial effect." 

Seven years later the same Churchill was to declare in Parlia- 
ment on May 8th, 1932: "It was the hideous process of defla- 
tion which was the main cause of our troubles." 

The British return to the gold standard at the old parity 
has been widely criticised as the original sin of British post- 
war finance; and indeed its sequel was disastrous enough. But 
in fact this policy was rendered inevitable by the conditions 
of the fight against the United States at this stage. The alter- 
native would have been the loss of control of the Empire by 
the attachment of the Dominions to the dollar. As the Econo- 
mist stated in a later discussion (in its issue of February 2ist, 
1931) on the causes of the return to the gold standard: 

"The last straw that turned the scale was the urgent repre- 
sentations of the Dominions, one of whom had already de- 
cided and another of whom had indicated its intention to 
take a step which would have tied them monetarily to the 
dollar and divorced them from the pound if Great Britain 
had hesitated." 

Devaluation would have undoubtedly been easier: 

"It would have undoubtedly eased our problem if we had 
devalued the pound and returned to gold at, say, $4.40 to 
the ." 

But the decisive issue was the fight against the United States: 

"The mere suggestion of devaluation created abroad a 
distrust of London and weighted the scales against us in the 
struggle between New York and London the issue of which 


was still in doubt for commercial and financial predomin- 

But the actual stronger position of the United States was 
not overcome by the British return to gold. As the Financial 
Times declared at the time on April 28th, 1925: "Even if 
America is the predominant partner in the gold standard al- 
liance, she will find it to her interests to use her power with 
discrimination and benevolence." The real weakness of the 
British position, whose declining economic basis could not 
maintain the pound at the old parity, was exposed in the years 
1925-1931. Despite all the efforts of Britain, the American ex- 
port of capital amounted to very nearly double the British in 
these years. During the four years 1925 to 1928 American new 
issues of capital abroad amounted to an annual average of 
1,100 million dollars, against a British annual average of 650 
million dollars (U.S. Commerce Reports, May igth, 1929). In 
1928 the American figure stood at 1,251 millions, the British 
at 698; in 1929 the respective figures stood at 671 and 459, in 
1930 at 905 and 529; only in 1931 after the collapse the Amer- 
ican figure had fallen to 229, while the British was 209, and 
by 1932 the American total had vanished to 29 millions, while 
the British was 102 millions (League of Nations Balance of 
Payments, 1931-1932). The total of American foreign invest- 
ments rose from 8,522 million dollars in 1922 to 12,187 mil- 
lions in 1927 (estimate of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 
Finance and Investment Division, in the Hoover Committee 
Report, Recent Economic Changes in the United States, 1929, 
Vol. II, p. 727). By 1928 the gross total of American private 
investments abroad was estimated by Dr. Max Winkler (The 
Ascendancy of the Dollar, Foreign Policy Association Informa- 
tion Service Supplement, New York, March, 1929) at 15,600 
million dollars. In the same year the British total was esti- 
mated by Sir Robert Kindersley (in the Economic Journal 
for March 1929) at 3,990 millions, equivalent to 19,980 mil- 
lion dollars. By 1931 Dr. Winkler's estimate of the American 
total was 17,968 million dollars. 

At the same time, American holdings of gold in central 

104 WORLD POLITICS: 191*8-1936 

banks, which had risen from the equivalent of 520 million 
in 1919 (against 392 million in 1913 for gold in central 
banks and in circulation) to 819 million in 1925, stood at 
833 million in 1931. The total British gold holding, which 
stood at 120 million in 1919 (against 150 million in 1913 
for the combined gold reserve and gold in circulation), and 
had risen to 145 million by 1925, fell to 121 million by 

But the decisive sign of the weakening British position dur- 
ing this period was the fact that the trade balance, with fall- 
ing exports and rising imports reflecting the declining and 
parasitic situation of British capitalism, was not able to stand 
the strain of the continually pressed forward export of capital. 
By 1930 the net credit balance had fallen to 28 million. Yet 
in the same year new overseas investments amounted to 108 
million. By 1931 the credit balance had given place to a net 
debit balance of 104 million. Yet new overseas investments 
were made to a total of 46 million. The crash followed in 
1931. The first stage of the struggle with the United States 
had ended in a confession of bankruptcy. 

It was at this point, with the collapse of the gold standard 
in 1931, that British policy turned to an alternative method 
of combating the dominance of the dollar. Since America held 
all the trumps in the battle of gold, British policy went "no 
trumps," and was eventually so successful as to force the 
United States to follow suit. The depreciation of the pound 
was used as the new weapon to combat the supremacy of 
American exports and build up the British trading position. 
Sterling became the banner to draw to itself increasingly the 
greater part of the world against the gold countries. America, 
thrown at a disadvantage, began to sue and to beg Britain for 
stabilisation, but was met with stern and discouraging replies. 
"If Washington is extremely anxious to get London back on 
gold/' declared the Daily Telegraph on January gth, 1933, 
"let Washington realise that the preposterous maldistribution 
and sterilisation of gold connected with the payment of war 
debts is one of the principal causes of the existing depres- 


sion." America sought to use the weapon of the war debts to 
compel the return of sterling to gold. Britain replied through 
the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Cham- 
berlain, at Leeds on January 24th, 1933, that payment could 
only be made "either by depreciating the currency or by in- 
creasing the tariff against America. . . . I am not using 
threats." The battle went on through the Preparatory Com- 
mittee of the World Economic Conference. The British Gov- 
ernment laid down four conditions for stabilisation: 

(i) a final and satisfactory settlement of the debt question; 

(ii) the restoration of satisfactory trade balances by the low- 
ering of tariff barriers; 

(iii) a rise in the level of wholesale prices; 

(iv) guarantees against any repetition of the circumstances 
that forced Britain off the gold standard; that is to say, in 
particular, the unequal distribution of world gold re- 

In this second stage of the struggle Britain was winning the 
upper hand, with its partial economic recovery on the basis 
of the initial effects of currency depreciation and tariffs, while 
America was entering into the most critical stages of its in- 
ternal economic crisis. 

At this point the United States, baffled in its attempts to 
enforce stabilisation on sterling, made its counter-coup. In 
April 1933, the dollar, backed by the strongest gold reserves 
in the world, was taken off gold. Legislation was passed open- 
ing the way to depreciation up to 50 per cent. The tables 
were turned. It was now the turn of Britain to press for stabil- 
isation at the World Economic Conference, and for America 
to refuse. President Roosevelt's message to the Conference, 
banning any question of stabilisation, was followed by the 
rapid break-up of the Conference. While Britain and the Gold 
bloc united to make a declaration, rejected by the United 
States, in favour of a future return to stabilisation on the 
basis of gold "as quickly as is practicable," Britain and the 

io6 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Dominions united to make a declaration in favour of a com- 
mon monetary policy based on sterling. 

Thus the third stage of the struggle had now opened, which 
still continues at the time of writing, with three main partici- 
pants: Sterling (the British Empire with a further series of 
satellite and associated countries); the Dollar (the United 
States with its range of influence in the American continent); 
and the Gold bloc (France with associated countries). Of 
these the Gold bloc visibly weakened, as the struggle con- 
tinued, with Belgian devaluation in 1935 and the prospect of 
devaluation in France. 

The aim of the so-called "Sterling bloc" as the expression 
of British world leadership began to be increasingly voiced in 
British official and semi-official utterances. Already by Janu- 
ary 1932 The Times was speaking of "the possibility of the 
greater part of the world being willing to adopt sterling" as 
the international standard, and in May 1932 was advocating, 
in connection with the Import Duties Advisory Committee, 
a "plan" of a grandiose "economic unit" to extend far beyond 
the bounds of the existing Empire: 

"No one pretends that the policy of beginning with na- 
tional security, going on to imperial co-operation, and end- 
ing with the formation of an economic unit far beyond the 
bounds of the political Empire, will be carried out easily; 
but the existence and the actions of the Committee will 
facilitate rather than obstruct such a plan." 

(The Times editorial, May 6th, 1932) 

The Federation of British Industries in 1933 specifically set 
out the aims of "a new world financial system" based on ster- 

"Our immediate effort should be directed to building up 
a British system based primarily on the Empire, and second- 
ly on such other countries as desire to come into some sys- 
tem related to sterling, in the hope that this may provide 
a reasonable measure of stability and prosperity for Great 


Britain and the Empire and in due course form the nucleus 
of a new world financial system." 

(Memorandum of the Federation of British Industries on 

Monetary Policy, 1933) 

Thus the currency war to-day reflects the widest generalised 
expression of the war of the imperialist blocs, and especially 
the basic Anglo-American antagonism, just as the collapse of 
the gold standard demonstrated the impossibility of any perm- 
anent imperialist co-operation. The attempts to reach once 
again a temporary stabilisation will undoubtedly be renewed; 
but even in the still doubtful event of such temporary stabilis- 
ation of currencies being achieved, it is obvious that its basis, 
with the existing uneven and rapidly changing relations of 
forces, will be even more precarious than the last. 


The whole of capitalist economy at the present stage has 
thus reached to the extreme of antagonisms in every sphere 
and of advance to war. Trade war, tariff war, currency war, 
the ever-sharpened struggle for markets, for gold, for raw ma- 
terials, for colonies, the slogans of "national self-sufficiency," 
of "autarchy," of dosed-in empires and blocs, economically 
and strategically prepared for war these are the characteristic 
features of the present stage which has succeeded to the world 
economic crisis. 

The culminating phase of this process at the stage reached 
to-day, alongside the actual outbreak of regional wars in the 
Far East and in Africa, is the rearmament of the Great Powers 
in preparation for the supreme conflict, which is now in full 
swing in all the leading countries. Rearmament and strategic 
economic preparation become to-day more and more visibly 
the dominating feature of the present stage of capitalist econ- 
omy. And this in a wider sense than the immediate expanding 
armaments programmes. For the character of modern war, of 
"totalitarian" war, requires that the entire economy, the en- 
tire organisation of industry and of man-power, shall be or- 

io8 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ganised for the purposes of war. The process of rearmament is 
in its full significance considerably more extensive than the 
immediate building and expansion programmes which occupy 
the forefront of attention and most conspicuously reveal the 
reality of what is going forward. The process of rearmament is 
not covered only by the military budgets; and its traces are to 
be found in every activity of the State and of the leading 
forces of finance-capital to-day. 1 The militarist-Fascist States, 
Germany, Japan and Italy, are the most open and thorough- 
going in carrying through this "totalitarian" programme. But 
in their own fashion the more complicated mechanisms of 
British or American capitalism are carrying through a trans- 
formation which ultimately leads in the same direction. It is 
this process of the increasing adaptation of the entire economy 
of the modern States for war that is the most characteristic, 

*A passing example at random may be taken from the following 
recent speech of a minister of the National Government in Britain: 

"Lord Eustace Percy, Minister without Portfolio, speaking at the 
annual dinner of the North-East Coast Engineering and Shipbuilders' 
Association at Newcastle last week, said that during recent years of 
depression these great industries have ceased very largely to recruit 
skilled labour, as they used to do, so that at present the national 
welfare and national defence rested upon a smaller reserve of skilled 
labour than ever before in the history of the country. The question 
they had to solve with local authorities and with their politicians was 
how were they to build up now because the time might be short- 
that reserve of skilled labour based upon an assured continuity of 
employment which was the basis of national welfare and which might 
be in a few years the basis of national defence. There was not only 
the question of mere engagement of labour from the schools, but the 
permanent retention of recruits. These were the problems they had 
to consider, and which politicians had to consider." 

(The Times, February a6th, 1936) 

In this small item the whole parasitism and decay of post-war capitalism 
is typically expressed. For sixteen years of continuous decline the finest 
body of skilled workers in the world is allowed to dwindle, their energies 
and capacities largely unused, and even the apprenticeship system to 
pass on their skill to their successors allowed to fall into decay, so that 
a younger generation grows up without the skill of its fathers. During 
all this process of decay not a dog barked in the capitalist camp; 
economic forces were left to take their course. But so soon as it comes 
to the task of war, of destruction, all capitalism awakens to the need 
for skilled workers. Truly of capitalism it may be said: "We have made 
a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement. 


the most typical, feature of the present latest phase of capital- 
ist economy. 

This accelerated advance to war, following the world econ- 
omic crisis and subsequent depression, and accompanying the 
present process of partial recover)', is as necessary a working 
out of the inner forces of imperialism at the present stage as 
each preceding stage of the post-war development has been. 
For the effects of the world economic crisis, as we have seen, 
destroyed the basis of stabilisation, enormously intensified all 
the economic conflicts of imperialism, and gave rise to ex- 
treme political instability through the desperate search of 
each imperialism for its own strengthening and means of ex- 
pansion at the expense of the remainder. This rising antagon- 
ism of all the imperialist Powers, and the advancing challenge 
of the less favourably placed imperialist Powers for battle for 
the new division of the world, increasingly drives to war as the 

This is the basic cause of the drive to war. But there is also 
an additional factor of the direct drive for profits through the 
process of rearmament and war which plays its role in the 
present situation. For while a certain measure of cyclical re- 
covery from the economic crisis has been achieved, this meas- 
ure of recovery is marked by its extremely uneven and limited 
character. The basic contradictions which caused the crisis 
remain unsolved; the surplus productive capacity under exist- 
ing conditions still seeks adequate outlet; there is still a con- 
siderable volume of capital, as of labour-power, unemployed. 
Since adequate constructive outlet on any larger scale is limit- 
ed by the conditions of capitalism, by the intensified fight for 
the world market, and by the growing impoverishment of the 
masses in the colonial countries, the possibility of finding a 
scope for such capital and winning a profit through the pro- 
cesses of rearmament and war, that is, through turning an in- 
creasing proportion of the rising productive forces to destruc- 
tive uses, begins to find increasing favour in capitalist circles; 
and even pseudo-economic arguments begin to be adduced in 
favour of such a process as a "stimulus" to "recovery." 

Thus the retrograde role of modem capitalism in strangling 

no WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

the development of the productive forces is carried to an ex- 
treme stage. The processes of direct destruction of goods and 
of means of production, as well as of restriction of output and 
of expansion of production, characteristic of the later stages 
of the crisis and still continuing to-day, could only serve the 
purpose of temporary and partial emergency measures, since, 
even while assisting to restore or increase the rate of profit on 
a considerable proportion of existing capital, they could pro- 
vide no scope for capital expansion. The ultimate completion 
of the process begins to be seen more and more consciously by 
powerful sections of capitalism as war not yet immediately as 
world war, but at first, in the view of each particular capitalist 
group, as a "brisk little local war" in some other region of the 
world, combined with profitable war orders and enlarged arm- 
aments programmes in their own countries. Each advance of 
war in one or another part of the globe, each advance of ten- 
sion, and each advance of rearmament, is accompanied by a 
rise in the values of leading shares on the Stock Exchanges of 
the world. Keynes remarked on the tendency of opinion in his 
book, The Means of Prosperity, Issued in 1933: "Cynics . . . 
conclude that nothing except a war can bring a major slump 
to its conclusion/* In The Economics of Re-armament, pub- 
lished in 1934, the financial publicist, Paul Einzig, expressed 
the argument with all the lucid logic of insanity: 

"Until comparatively recently it was considered the su- 
preme task of mankind, in the sphere of economics, to pro- 
duce more so as to be able to improve the standard of living 
of consumers. Any raw material and labour spent on arm- 
ament was considered a dead loss because it reduced the vol- 
ume of goods available for consumption. At present, how- 
ever, thanks to scientific inventions and the application of 
more efficient methods of production the problem is no 
longer the same. It is no longer production that has to make 
desperate efforts to keep up with consumption; it is con- 
sumption that is lagging far behind productive capacity, 
and even behind actual production. In such circumstances 
disarmament means the reduction of the world's capacity 


and willingness to consume, while rearmament means an in- 
crease of that capacity. All rearmament does is to absorb 
part of the surplus products which would otherwise be un- 
saleable in our present economic system. So long as the 
problem of adjusting the world's capacity of consumption 
and the world's capacity of production to each other is left 
unsolved, any demand for goods, however artificial and un- 
productive, is calculated, on balance, to benefit trade." 

(PAUL EINZIG, The Economics of Re-armament, 1934) 

The author agrees that "there are better ways of stimulating 
the demand for goods than through rearmament"; but these 
are "beyond the bounds of practical politics," since "the 
money which is made available for armament expenditure is 
not forthcoming for such productive purposes." "In our ab- 
surd economic system," Dr. Einzig argues, "a war is capable of 
bringing an economic depression to an end." Such is the rea- 
soning of this financial theorist. The ultimate falsity of this 
reasoning in the long run, even from the standpoint of a func- 
tioning capitalist economy, is manifest. But what is import- 
ant is the immediate attractive power of this short cut to 
profits for important sections of finance-capital. 

There is no doubt that in all countries a part, and in such 
countries as Germany and Japan the leading part, of the pro- 
cess of partial "recovery" and expansion of production in the 
recent period, is directly connected with the advance of re- 
armament and war. In June 1935, t ^ LC Economist noted: 

"There is one sinister factor in the situation which sug- 
gests that part of such recovery as has in fact taken place is 
artificial and neither permanent nor healthy. We refer to 
the economic influence of rearmament. Readers of our for- 
eign correspondence columns must have been struck by the 
fact that for months past constant reference has been made 
to the stimulating effect of armament orders in Europe, 
America and Japan, and that in Europe there are many 
cases where the 'rearmament industries' are the only ones 
that are doing well. In Germany this military demand is 

ii2 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

exceptionally important, both because of the scale of her re- 
armament and also because it involves not merely increased 
current expenditure but also expenditure on capital equip- 
mentsuch as barracks, a new Air Ministry, munition-mak- 
ing plant, aerodromes, etc. needed for re-creating the mil- 
itary machine. But the case of Germany differs from that of 
other countries only in degree. 

"We have described this tendency as sinister, because na- 
tions will obviously be particularly reluctant to diminish 
orders of this kind by agreement if it should emerge that 
they are the only cause of renewed activity in a world in a 
state of depression. It would indeed be a paradox if political 
tension which has quite clearly been a factor in bringing 
about the economic crisis and in impeding its cure should 
bring into being vested economic interests which depend for 
their existence on the maintenance of political unrest. Pol- 
iticians the world over who are working for peace are right- 
ly apprehensive of a situation in which the only active 
trades will be those which are making arms." 

(Economist, June sgth, 1935) 

This increasing dependence of the whole economy on re- 
armament and war is particularly characteristic of the militar- 
ist-Fascist States, Japan, Germany and Italy. In Japan military 
and naval expenditure in 1935-1936 accounted for 46 per cent 
of the budget, and in 1936*1937 for 58 per cent, even accord- 
ing to the official returns which fall far short of covering all 
the war expenditure. Already by 1935 The Times reported: 

"During the past three years war preparations have be- 
come, after textiles, Japan's largest industry. Apart from 
armament and shipbuilding firms, the number of concerns 
partly, if not wholly, dependent on Government orders for 
military and naval supplies of every description is immense. 
An Administration which stopped preparing on a big scale 
for war would precipitate an economic crisis." 

(The Times, March 5th, 1935) 


In Germany the full extent of rearmament is covered with 
secrecy; neither the complete figures of the public debt, nor 
the budget figures are any longer published. But some meas- 
ure can be made both from the unofficial estimates in the fin- 
ancial Press of the growth of the public debt, as well as from 
the enormous growth of new capital expenditure alongside 
the veto on the expansion of private plant for economic pur- 
poses. The Economist of June i5th, 1935, reported that, in 
addition to the publicly acknowledged debt of 13,000 million 
Reichsmarks, it was "openly bandied about in the Berlin fin- 
ancial markets" that a "secret debt" of 15-17,000 million 
Reichsmarks had been incurred between 1933 and June 1935, 
i.e. from 1,400 million to 1,600 million at the current ex- 
change. According to the estimate of Churchill, calculated on 
the basis of official figures given in his speech in the House of 
Commons on April 23rd, 1936, the total of German rearma- 
ment expenditure in the three years 1933-1935 amounted to 
1,500 million, and in 1935 alone to 800 million. 

Although this concentration of the entire economy on re- 
armament and war is a distinctive feature of the Fascist-mil- 
itarist States, Germany, Italy, Japan and Poland, correspond- 
ing tendencies in varying degree may be traced in the other 
capitalist States. In France in the summer of 1935 an "Extra- 
ordinary Loan Budget" was passed, providing for an annual 
expenditure of 6,000 million francs, or 80 million, to finance 
public works of rearmament. The index of industrial produc- 
tion, which had fallen uninterruptedly for two years, began to 
rise in the autumn of 1935. 

In Britain during 1935 the shares of thirteen representative 
armaments firms, excluding aircraft firms, rose by 16.7 mill- 
ion, from a market value of 11.2 million to 27.9 million, or 
a rise of 149 per cent, while those of established aircraft com- 
panies rose by 7 million, and new aircraft companies raised 
7.6 million new capital. Between April ist, 1935, and Feb- 
ruary 26th, 1936, the shares of Vickers, of nominal value 6s. 
8d., rose from gs. gd. to 25$. 6d.; the shares of John Brown, of 
nominal value 6s., rose from 55. i^d. to 22$. 6d.; the shares of 

114 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Hadfields, of nominal value 10$., rose from gs. to 23$. The net 
profits of Vickers-Armstrong rose from 543,364 in 1933 to 
928,105 in 1935, and the ordinary dividend from 4 per cent 
to 8 per cent, plus a 50 per cent share bonus out of undistrib- 
uted profits. All this shower of gold from war-preparations 
and the hope of war took place before the British large-scale 
rearmament programme announced in March 1936* "We have 
made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agree- 

The cycle is complete. From the devastation of the world 
war to the attempted restoration of capitalism. From the re- 
storation of capitalism to the devastation of the world econ- 
omic crisis. From the world economic crisis to rearmament 
and renewed war. In this cycle the bankruptcy of imperialism 
is expressed. 

Chapter V 


"Provided that none of the nations wanted war, there was no 
more potent instrument than the League of Nations for the 
settlement of international disputes and the preservation of 

SIR AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN in the House of Commons, 

March nth, 1935 

1 HE EXPERIENCE of the first world war placed on the agenda 
of the world for the first time, in a way that no statesman 
could henceforth ignore, the problem of world organisation. 
With extreme hesitation and suspicion, under conditions that 
already from the preliminary negotiations revealed the in- 
tensity of the real conflicts and antagonisms, the imperialist 
Powers began to approach this problem in the latter part of 
the war and in the post-war period. But in fact they failed to 
reach any real solution of it. The League of Nations may be a 
milestone on the road, but it is no solution yet of the problem 
of world organisation. The reasons for this failure lay in the 
very nature of imperialism, as the analysis of its governing 
forces in the practical experience of the post-war years, pur- 
sued in the last two chapters in both the political and the 
economic spheres, has endeavoured to make clear. It is in the 
light of this understanding of the real antagonistic forces of 
imperialism that we need to approach the problem of world 
organisation, to understand the reasons for the very limited 
outcome of the first attempts made during this period, despite 
the considerable volume of idealist support and disinterested 

u6 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

service that has been given to them, and to draw the necessary 
conclusions for the future and for the immediate next stage. 


The conception of world unity and of ultimate world po- 
litical unification arose for the first time from the conditions 
of capitalism; but it is in profound contradiction with the 
whole basis of capitalist organisation, property relations, econ- 
omic-political concentrations of power and State-forms. It is of 
key importance at the outset to clear this contradiction, which 
is at the root of all the difficulties of the League of Nations 
and similar attempts, and which, once understood, points the 
way forward to the necessary conditions of its resolving in the 
future society, as well as to the practical conclusions for the 
present stage. 

A long literary and philosophical pedigree is commonly 
traced for the conception of world unity and the organisation 
of a single world community. But this attempt to trace the 
origin of the conception in pre-capitalist conditions is hardly 
justified by the facts. While the utterances of ancient philos- 
ophers and prophets who looked forward to a golden future 
of world peace, or who in the present sought to rise superior 
to local prejudices and proclaimed themselves "citizens of the 
world," may be quoted, these early attempts to transcend in- 
dividually the limits of the existing States could only have the 
significance of that type of prophetic utterance which fore- 
shadows the future but is unable to show the way to its real- 
isation. On the other hand, the examples of wide, all-embrac- 
ing unitary empires or systems in the past, which are some- 
times held up as prototypes of the future "World State," such 
as the Roman Empire, the Chinese Empire or the underlying 
measure of unity of mediaeval Christendom, although repre- 
senting in each case a certain degree of unity of "civilisation" 
as understood at the time, were nevertheless consciously lim- 
ited in their scope. The Roman Empire was bounded by "the 
barbarians." The Chinese Empire was bounded by the Chin- 
ese Wall. Mediaeval Christendom only achieved its partial 


unity in opposition to Islam. A universal world conception 
was still lacking. 

It was only the rise to power of the bourgeoisie, with its 
drive to trading and colonial expansion, which for the first 
time brought the entire world within the bounds of human 
knowledge, created the single world market, and thus laid the 
foundations for the conception of world political unification. 
The first expression of this conception came from the French- 
man, Cruce, in his Le Nouveau Cynee in 1623, in which he 
advocated the formation of a world union of States, including 
China, Persia and the Indies, to organise free trade among its 
members, construct inter-oceanic canals, and maintain peace 
through a unitary structure including a world assembly and a 
world court (for a summary account of this and similar pro- 
jects, see Schuman, International Politics, pp. 234-237). 

The eighteenth-century illumination brought, in reply to 
the "Project of Perpetual Peace" of the Abb6 Saint-Pierre, 
which was in fact a proposal of a European Holy Alliance to 
maintain monarchs on their thrones, the well-known work of 
Rousseau, Extrait du projet de paix perpetuelle de M. I'Abbd 
Saint-Pierre, published in 1761, which proposed a permanent 
federation of States, though only a European federation, with 
a sovereign congress. This line of thought was carried to its 
highest point in Kant's famous Zum Ewigen Frieden, pub- 
lished in 1795, which advocated a universal world federation 
of republican States, with world citizenship. The internation- 
al tendency of bourgeois revolutionary thought of this period 
was illustrated in Tom Paine's election to membership of the 
French revolutionary Convention, as well as in the young 
Hegel's welcome to Napoleon's invasion of feudal Germany. 
Napoleon's own projects included the federation of Contin- 
ental Europe, which he declared to be the only alternative to 
Tsarist domination. 

Bourgeois internationalism in sentiment reached its highest 
point with Kant, and thereafter declined, through the dreams 
of Cobdenism and universal peace by free trade, to the openly 
reactionary and militarist philosophies of imperialism. After 
Kant, Hegel reverted to the solid basis of bourgeois rule, the 

n8 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

independent sovereign State, representing an absolute end 
with no higher authority, the relations of States between 
themselves corresponding to "the state o nature." From this 
point the line of development of internationalism passed from 
its early confused forms in the hands of the bourgeoisie, and 
was carried forward henceforth in the hands of the proletari- 
at, in the shape of the proletarian internationalism of Marx 
and international Socialism, or the first fully conscious and 
fully formed international outlook and the first union of in- 
ternational theory and international practice. It was the im- 
pact of this real internationalism, especially through the Rus- 
sian Revolution, on the existing anarchy of bourgeois State 
forms, which was the main driving-force to the latter-day 
bourgeois attempts to elaborate a substitute in the shape of 
Wilsonism and the League of Nations (with even, thrown into 
a corner, the official international representation of "labour"). 
But while the development of world economy through cap- 
italism thus first gave rise to the ideal of world political uni- 
fication, the real basis of bourgeois rule was in direct contra- 
diction to this. For the bourgeoisie was no united whole, but 
represented divided and sharply competitive groupings of cap- 
ital. Each capitalist class in each country fought to win con- 
trol of its own State mechanism, both in order to maintain its 
own domination over the mass of the population at home, and 
in order to strengthen its position and press forward the 
struggle against its rivals (mercantilism, import duties, nav- 
igation laws, colonial wars). Thus the rise of the bourgeoisie, 
just as it saw the advance of individualism in relations within 
each State, saw the advance of the doctrine of independent 
State sovereignty in the relations between States, and the ex- 
treme intensification of international antagonisms and an- 
archy. The bourgeoisie appeared as the bearer of the principle 
of the "nation-State" in opposition to the feudal mediaeval 
conception of the hierarchic unity of Europe under Pope and 
Emperor. In this way the bourgeoisie, corresponding to the 
laws of its own system, was destined to create simultaneously 
a single world economy and the extreme of international an- 


This atomistic principle of the exclusive and unlimited in- 
dependent sovereignty of each State grew up with the bour- 
geoisie in opposition to the mediaeval hierarchic system, and 
has remained inseparably bound up with the conditions of 
bourgeois rule, that is, with the interests of the particular cap- 
italist groups which control each State. 1 The mediaeval ideal 
of unity found its expression in the conception of the subord- 
ination of the system of States or kingdoms to the over-ruling 
authority of Pope or Emperor, although between these two 
conceptions of the ultimate form of unity there was antagon- 
ism (reflected in the struggle of the Guelphs and the Ghibel- 
lines). The one conception, of the subordination of all States 
to the universal Church or Papacy, found its classic theoretic- 
al expression in the works of St. Thomas Aquinas in the thir- 
teenth century, especially in the De Regimene Principum and 
the Summa Contra Gentiles. The rival conception, of the sub- 
ordination of all rulers to the single universal Empire, found 
expression in Dante's De Monarchia, written in the early four- 
teenth century, although not printed till 1559, which was 
placed on the index of prohibited books by the Papacy. Dante, 
looking back to the Roman Empire as the lost ideal, pro- 
claimed a universal monarchy or empire as necessary for the 

1 This dose connection of the historical development of bourgeois rule 
and the system of independent sovereign States is often ignored by latter- 
day bourgeois theorists who endeavour to shift the responsibility for 
contemporary international antagonisms and wars from the shoulders 
of the bourgeois ruling class to an abstraction, "the international 
anarchy," which is regarded as separate from capitalism. Thus Lord 
Lothian argues (in the New Statesman and Nation of April *7th, 1935): 

"It is this anarchy of political sovereignties, not capitalism, which 
creates and intensifies economic and militarist rivalries. It is the poli- 
tical disunity of mankind which distorts capitalism, not capitalism 
which creates the anarchy of sovereignties." 

This is to put the cart before the horse. It is quite true that political 
divisions, corresponding to the economic conditions of each period, 
existed before capitalism. But the modem State organisations have been 
shaped and moulded by capitalism to meet its needs. The rival finance- 
oligarchies in the different imperialist countries dominate and control 
the State mechanisms and use them as instruments for the purpose of 
their conflicts, not vice versa. The "anarchy of political sovereignties" 
is the reflection of the anarchy of capitalism. Lord Lothian prefers to 
blame the mirror because the reflection is ugly. 

12O WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

well-being of the world, to constitute a power above the con- 
flicts o rival rulers and so preserve universal peace and lib- 

"The human race is at its best state when it is ruled by a 
single prince and one law. So it is evidently essential for the 
well-being of the world that there should be a single mon- 
archy or princedom, which men call the Empire. Whenever 
disputes arise, there must be judgement. Between any two 
independent princes controversies may arise, and then 
judgement is necessary. Now an equal cannot rule over an 
equal, so there must be a third prince of wider jurisdiction 
who is ruler over both, to decide the dispute. This third 
ruler must be the monarch or Emperor.'* 

In opposition to this entire outlook of the mediaeval world, 
the new principles of the rising bourgeoisie, the principles of 
unlimited State absolutism of the separate States, found ex- 
pression from the sixteenth century onwards, in Macchiavelli's 
The Prince, in the early sixteenth century, in Bodin's De La 
Republique in the later sixteenth century, and in Hobbes' 
Leviathan in the middle seventeenth century. Macchiavelli, 
who led the way in proclaiming for the first time with merci- 
less clearness the principles of the new bourgeois philosophy, 
laid down his well-known political axioms: 

"The prince who contributes to the advancement of an- 
other Power ruins his own." 

"There is nothing so weak as a Power that is not support- 
" ed by itself, that is to say, that is not defended by its own 
citizens or subjects. . . . Princes ought therefore to make the 
art of war their sole study and occupation, for it is peculiar- 
ly the science of those who govern." 

"A prudent prince cannot and ought not to keep his 
word, except when he can do it without injury to himself, 
or when the circumstances under which he contracted the 
engagement still exist." 


Here, with, the rise of the bourgeoisie, the principles of what 
is nowadays currently called "power-politics" have found full 

The conception of the absolute principle of independent 
State sovereignty found its completed classic expression in 
Hegel, the philosopher of the mature bourgeoisie. Hegel's 
definition of the relation of States between themselves is un- 
compromising, and left no room for any higher international 

"With regard to the relation of States among themselves, 
their sovereignty is the basic principle; they are in that re- 
spect in the state of nature in relation to one another, and 
their rights are not realised in a general rule which is so 
constituted as to have power over them, but their rights are 
realised only through their particular wills." 

Similarly, Lasson in the same period declared (quoted in H. 
Lauterpacht, Private Law Sources and Analogies of Interna- 
tional Law, 1927): 

"The moral person which we call the State is at the same 
time a sovereign person. It is an aim in itself. ... It is un- 
limited and unbounded with regard to everything outside 
itself. The State cannot therefore be subjected to a legal 

order or, speaking generally, to another will but its own 

It is an unbridled will of selfishness. . . . 

"Two States are related to each other like two physical 

This conception dominated bourgeois political philosophy 
without question through the nineteenth century and up to 
1914. Thus the leading teacher of English political philosophy 
in the pre-war imperialist era, Bosanquet, wrote in his Philo- 
sophical Theory of the State (1899): 

"It (the State) has no determinate function in a larger 
community, but is itself the supreme community; the guard- 

122 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ian of a whole moral world, but not a factor within an or- 
ganised moral world. Moral relations presuppose an organ- 
ised life; but such a life is only within the State, not in re- 
lations between the State and other communities/' 1 
Bourgeois individualism is thus writ large in the bourgeois 
conception of the State. The "international anarchy" is the 
photographic enlargement of the principles of capitalism. 

Against this basis the ceaseless idealist aspirations towards 
international unity, engendered alike by the growing unity of 
world economy under capitalism, and by the ever more terri- 
ble experience of the consequences of the world anarchy and 
conflicts, beat and batter in vain, so long as they remain with- 
in the framework of capitalism. Thus there develops a per- 
petual dichotomy between Liberal ideology, with its pacific 
and international aspirations, and the realities of capitalism, 
to which Liberal ideology remains attached by its navel-string. 
Gladstone thundered for the "rule of public right" in inter- 
national affairs and bombarded Alexandria. Asquith sped on 
the marching battalions to war with the call to vindicate "the 
public law of Europe" and to place the rights of the "smaller 
nationalities" on an "unassailable foundation" and signed 
the Secret Treaties. Wilson called for a "new world order" 
and signed the Versailles Treaty. The present-day prototype 
of the Liberal ideologues, H. G. Wells, proclaimed the imper- 
ialist war of 1914 as a Holy War, poured scorn on the Marx- 
ists who exposed its real imperialist character, and had to 
confess his error twenty years too late in his Autobiography 
in 1954: 

"My estimate of the moral and intellectual forces at large 
in the world was out. I would not face the frightful truth. 

a lt is interesting to note that in the third edition of this work, pub- 
lished in igao, the author found it necessary to add a footnote to this 
passage, dated 1919, to "correct" it in the light of the League of Nations, 
and to explain further, in a special preface, dated 1919: 

"States are diverse embodiments of the human spirit, in groups terri- 
torially determined through historical trial and error. . . . Obvi- 
ously they are units in a world-wide co-operation/' 

The difference between the axiom of 1899 and the correction of 1919 
illustrates the infinite capacity of idealist philosophy to adapt itself to 
the varying requirements of the successive stages of imperialism. 


"The world disaster, now it had come, so overwhelmed 
my mind that I was obliged to thrust this false interpreta- 
tion upon it and assert, in spite of my deep and at first un- 
formulated misgivings, that here and now the new world 
order was in conflict with the old. 

"It took me some months of reluctant realisation to bring 
my mind to face the unpalatable truth that this 'war for civ- 
ilisation,' this 'war to end war* of mine was in fact no better 
than a consoling fantasy, and that the flaming actuality was 
simply this, that France, Great Britain and their allied Pow- 
ers were, in pursuance of their established policies, interests, 
treaties and secret understandings, after the accepted man- 
ner of history and under the direction of their duly consti- 
tuted military authorities, engaged in war with the allied 
Central Powers, and that under contemporary conditions no 
other war was possible." 

This disillusionment has not prevented H. G. Wells from con- 
tinuing to proclaim the path to his ideal of the "World State" 
as lying through the benevolent co-operation of the large-scale 
capitalists, through a "world consortium" without overthrow- 
ing capitalism, or through the magical devices of technical ex- 
perts and upper-class "airmen," while remaining blind to the 
sole real force ("my estimate of the moral and intellectual 
forces at large in the world was out"), the force of the inter- 
national working class in alliance with the subject peoples 
throughout the world, which can alone break the power of the 
finance-capitalist dictatorships and realise, as it is already on 
the march to realise, the future world society of collective co- 

The dream of international peace through the co-operation 
of capitalism, by the supposed evolution of capitalism to a 
higher stage in which its anarchy and discords will disappear, 
has persisted from the nineteenth century into the twentieth, 
despite all the rude shocks of reality. But it has changed its 
form. In the nineteenth century the illusion, appropriate to 
the conditions of free trade industrial capitalism, took the 
form of the illusion of a future universal free trade era, in 
which all the nations would be linked by the bonds of peace- 

124 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ful commerce, and war would not be known any more. The 
evolution of capitalism to its monopoly stage or imperialism, 
growing inevitably out of the conditions of Liberal laisser- 
faire capitalism, shattered this dream. But a new one grew up 
in its place even in the age of imperialism, when the real 
tiger-fight of capitalism had reached to the extreme of open- 
ness and violence. Would not the growth of capitalist concen- 
tration and monopoly, it was argued, ultimately lead by the 
same laws of development to a single international capitalist 
monopoly, eliminating all discords and divisions? Must not 
imperialism grow into "ultra-imperialism"? This was the 
formulation put forward by the leading German Social-Dem- 
ocratic theorist, Kautsky. Already in 19 ig Hilferding had writ- 
ten in his Finanzkapital: 

"Economically, a universal cartel to guide all production 
and thus to eliminate crises, would be possible; such a cartel 
would be thinkable economically, although socially and po- 
litically such a State appears unrealisable, for the antagon- 
ism of interests, strained to the last possible limits, would 
necessarily bring about its collapse." 

But Kautsky in 1915 went beyond this ground of a hypothesis, 
in theory economically possible, but practically unrealisable, 
to proclaim a "not impossible" "new phase" of capitalism. In 
his Nationalstaat, Imperialistischer Staat und Staatenbund 
("National State, Imperialistic State and League of States"), 
published in 1915, he wrote: 

"From a purely economic point of view it is not impos- 
sible that capitalism will yet go through a new phase, that 
of the extension of the policy of the cartels to foreign pol- 
icy, the phase of ultra-imperialism." 

And again: 

"Evolution is proceeding towards monopoly; therefore 
the trend is towards a single world monopoly, to a univers- 
al trust" 


This view of a future peaceful, harmonious phase of "inter- 
nationalised" capitalism, supposed to be foreshadowed by the 
growth of international financial connections and internation- 
al trusts and cartels, found high favour in Liberal-reformist 
circles in the second and third decades of the twentieth cen- 
tury. 1 

We have already traced in the last chapter on the post-war 
economic record the woeful collapse in practical experience of 
this myth of the supposedly growing "international" unifica- 
tion and harmony of capitalism, and seen how the actual line 
of development is in the opposite direction, towards the in- 
creasing sharpness of the economic-political conflicts, trade 
wars, tariff wars, currency wars, as well as diplomatic and 
armed struggles, of the rival finance-capitalist blocs. We have 
now to see in principle why this process is inevitable in the 
development of imperialism, and is by no means due to the 
incursion of accidental factors. 

Why is a "World State** or any form of stable international 
co-operation impossible under the conditions of imperialism? 
The reasons for this lie in the character of imperialism, i.e. 
the formation of rival monopolist groupings of capital around 
corresponding State mechanisms, and close interweaving of 
each grouping with its own State mechanism in order to util- 
ise the maximum power to promote its competing aims and 
win a larger share of the world market, sources of raw mater- 
ials, colonies or spheres of influence. This conflict is the real- 
ity of imperialist world politics. In this situation there can be 
no stable union, but only shifting alliances and interrelation- 

a A similar view of the internationally harmonising and unifying rule 
of finance<apital was reflected also in the school of so-called "realist 
pacifism" or Norman Angellism (Norman Angell, The Great Illusion, 
1909 see also the 1931 extract from the same author, quoted on page 
91), which won wide currency before the war. Norman Angell, how- 
ever, recognised that the actual ideology and policies of imperialism 
were fully contrary to any such international tendency; but he endeav- 
oured to regard such ideology and policies as an obsolete survival or 
"illusion** of the leaders of finance-capital in conflict with their supposed 
true internationally harmonious interests, and failed to see their basis in 
the real development, structure and characteristics of finance-capital 
as an antagonistic system of rival monopolist groups using State power for 
the purposes of their monopolist aims all over the world. 

WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ships against a common rival. Even where a general union is 
attempted, and that of the loosest kind, as in the League of 
Nations, this union has not yet become general, the largest 
Power continuously holding out, and even so this union is re- 
vealed as only a continuation and an arena of the existing 
conflicts. The League of Nations was originally a union of the 
victor Powers against the defeated Powers and the Soviet 
Union; to-day it is a union of Powers in varying degrees of op- 
position to the Fascist war offensive and to the plans for an 
immediate world war; to-morrow it may take another shape. 
But at no time has it displaced, or can it displace, the real 
bases of power in the imperialist centres and their conflicts. 

This situation could only be changed within imperialism, if 
the rival monopolist groups could coalesce into a single mon- 
opoly, into a single world trust or cartel. If a single world 
trust could be realised, then a single World State under cap- 
italism would follow. If not, not. This is the fundamental 
economic issue underlying the problem of a capitalist World 
State (the League of Nations, it should be noted, is not in any 
sense an attempt at a World State or super-state federation, 
but only at a very much looser form of union, whose special 
character we shall discuss presently; the fundamental dilem- 
ma, however, remains the same also for this type of union). 

Is a single world trust possible? As an abstract economic hy- 
pothesis it is theoretically conceivable. But between the ab- 
stract imagining and its realisation in practice lies a gulf. For 
the abstract hypothesis leaves out of account the law of the in- 
creasingly uneven economic and political develoment of cap- 
italism which makes it in practice unrealisable. 

What is the normal process of the concentration of capital 
through the formation of trusts or cartels? The normal process 
may develop through one of two forms. Either an overwhelm- 
ingly strong body of capital is able to dominate and absorb, 
crush, buy out or freeze out a weaker rival, and thus stage by 
stage advance to a position of monopoly. Or, where there is 
equality between two or more rivals and relative stability of 
conditions, a stable compact may be made for the division of 
markets, or a fusion of capitals negotiated. But where there is 


neither overwhelming predominance nor relative equality, 
and especially where there are rapidly changing conditions, 
through one company advancing and another declining, 
through the invention of new processes, etc., there no stable 
compact is possible, since the stronger or advancing body of 
capital will prefer to continue the struggle rather than to sta- 
bilise the existing position. This instability is strikingly il- 
lustrated on an international scale in the experience of all in- 
ternational trusts and cartels that have been formed, their 
fluid and precarious character. A particularly enlightening 
study could be made of the post-war European Steel Cartel, 
originally formed on a Continental basis against the more 
powerful United States Steel Trust, with Britain remaining 
outside, eventually with Britain drawn in, but throughout 
with the antagonisms continuing unresolved, also in the Car- 
tel, and only transferred to the field of the battle over the 
quotas, with frequent threats of disruption. 

When, however, this problem is transferred from the rela- 
tively elementary conditions in a single branch of industry to 
the relations of the complex monopolist formations of capital 
gathered around the various imperialist States, it becomes at 
once obvious how impossible it is to find either equality or a 
stable proportion of ratios to allow of any stable compact for 
the division of the world market, etc. For here, in the first 
place, the variety of factors of relative advantages and disad- 
vantages of each grouping (actual and potential economic re- 
sources, costs of production, available labour force and de- 
gree of training, geographic and strategic position, territorial 
areas controlled, monopoly of given materials, as well as the 
factors of armed strength, etc.) is incommensurable in any 
general ratio; and in the second place, the conditions are con- 
tinually changing, as between the dynamically advancing 
forces and the declining forces. The strongest monopolist 
grouping will tend to keep out of any combination (as is il- 
lustrated in the relations of the United States and the League 
of Nations); the dynamically advancing forces will prefer the 
line of struggle to improve their position (Germany, Japan). 
Hence the continually renewed battle for the re-division of 

128 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

the world, which is the perpetual history of imperialism. This 
could only be ended within the conditions of imperialism by 
the final complete victory of one Power and domination and 
subjection of the remainder to its world hegemony. But the 
failure of all the attempts of the Allied Powers to hold Germ- 
any permanently down and turn it into a colony, through Ver- 
sailles and the Dawes Plan, shows the difficulties of this path. 
Before this goal of an ultimate world domination, towards 
which imperialism in fact strives, could be achieved, the path 
would have to lie through such a blood-soaked marsh of wars 
and destruction, involving economic, political, national and 
social cataclysms, that the revolt of the masses in the face of 
such ruin and destruction, even if unable to prevent it before- 
hand, would advance to the victory of the world socialist re- 
volution before imperialism could achieve its goal of a single 
world hegemony. 1 

This situation rules out the possibility of any stable inter- 
national co-operation of the imperialist Powers on a world 
scale. And this situation equally governs, not only the ques- 
tion of the possibility of a World State of capitalism, but also 
the character and contradictions of the existing capitalist at- 
tempts at world organisation, including the League of Na- 


So far we have discussed only in principle the obstacles 
which prevent any form of world organisation (save for a lim- 

1 Reference may be made to Lenin's well-known statement on the 
question of a "single world trust" in his Introduction to Bucharin's 
Imperialism and World Economy: 

"There is no doubt that the development is going in the direction 
of a single world trust that will swallow up all enterprises and all 
States without exception. But the development in this direction is pro- 
ceeding under such stress, with such a tempo, with such contradictions, 
conflicts and convulsions not only economical, but also political, na- 
tional, etc., etc. that before a single world trust will be reached, before 
the respective national finance-capitals will have formed a world union 
of *ultra-imperialism,' imperialism will inevitably explode, capitalism 
will turn into its opposite." 


ited or technical purpose) under the conditions of imperial- 
ism, or any stable international co-operation of imperialism 
on a world scale. It is now necessary to turn to the practical 
record in the experience of the League of Nations and sim- 
ilar attempts since the war. 

Writing on the eve of the Japanese invasion of China, M. 
H. Cornejo, one of the original members of the Council of the 
League of Nations, published a book entitled L'Equilibre des 
Continents, with an introduction by Poincare (issued in Eng- 
lish under the title The Balance of the Continents in 1932), in 
which he gave a glowing description of the role and function- 
ing of the League: 

"A spontaneous and inevitable alliance of common sense 
against passions is being formed within the framework of 
the League of Nations. This alliance will always have the 
support of overwhelming force against the obstinacy, if such 
obstinacy were to be manifested, of a Government short- 
sighted enough to resist the peaceful tendency which is in- 
compatible with the misplaced vapourings of outworn im- 
perialism. In a universal association the conjunction of in- 
terests creates a species of moral inertia in favour of peace. 
This inertia forms a line of forces not to be broken by any 
State which might show signs of straying from the roads in- 
dicated by the League leading to conciliation and agree- 
ment. . . . Day by day the authority of the League is more 
objective, seeking in equity solutions contrary to the egoism 
of States and becoming an instrument for the co-ordination 
of interests. Every time that the threat of an appeal to force 
may be perceived behind an attitude, the best cause will be 
irremediably lost. The Power playing at imperialism will 
be pitilessly isolated. That is the inevitable alliance of 

The date of this description supplies the comment. It ap- 
peared in 1931, just before Japan's invasion of China and the 
demonstration of impotence of the League. The subsequent 

130 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

movement of opinion found typical expression in the British 
Government's Memorandum on "Defence," issued in March 
1935 (Cmd. 4827): 

"Hitherto public opinion in this country has tended to 
assume that the existing international political machinery 
is adequate for the maintenance of peace, and that reliance 
on older methods of defence is no longer required. 

"The force of world events, however, has shown that this 
assumption is premature. . , . 

"Events in various parts of the world have shown that 
nations are still prepared to use or threaten force under the 
impulse of what they conceive to be a national necessity; 
and once action has been taken, the existing international 
machinery cannot be relied on as a protection against an 

Here between these two extreme poles of expression, of optim- 
istic illusions on the one side, and of "realist" rejection of il- 
lusions on the other, and insistence on the line of independ- 
ent armed preparation for struggle, is to be found the typical 
contrast between forms and realities in the relations of im- 
perialism and the League of Nations. 

The League of Nations has been, and continues to be, the 
subject of voluminous and heated controversy. Its ideal aspect 
has aroused passionate devotion and service from those who 
have felt it to be the only instrument, however imperfect, of 
attempted international co-operation between States and 
avoidance of war; and many of these have seen in it the nu- 
cleus of a future world union of States. It has received tepid 
lip-service and continuous practical snubbing from govern- 
mental imperialist expression. It has been the object of vehe- 
ment denunciation from chauvinist and jingo elements which 
are opposed to all forms of international co-operation and 
openly proclaim the inevitability of war. In addition, the spe- 
cial question of the League of Nations and capitalism has 
aroused widespread controversy and opposing views in Social- 
ist circles. 


In order to resolve these questions it is necessary to ap- 
proach the issue of the League of Nations objectively and his- 
torically, against the background of the relations of imperial- 
ism in the post-war period which governed its origin, and 
which continue to govern its successive changing phases of de- 
velopment also in the present latest stage when the advance 
of strength of the Soviet Union as a world Power and its en- 
try into the League has introduced a new factor from outside 
imperialism and created a new relation of forces. 

What is the League of Nations? The League of Nations is 
not in any sense a World State or super-State federation ex- 
ercising independent power over its component States. The 
sovereignty of its component States remains intact, as is evid- 
enced by the rule of unanimity on all major issues. It is 
sometimes argued that the undertaking of the obligations of 
the Covenant is itself a limitation of sovereignty. But this is 
no more of a limitation of sovereignty than entry into a multi- 
lateral treaty. The interpretation of the obligations, the de- 
cision as to action or inaction, rests with the component 
States, which may on occasion renounce their membership 
and resume their freedom of action if this should at any time 
seem more in accordance with their interests, as in the cases of 
Japan and Germany. The decisive bases of armed power rest 
with the separate States and not with the League. 

This dependence of the League of Nations on the superior 
strength of its component States, and especially of the Great 
Powers, is decisive for its character. This dependence rules 
out of court the misleading analogies often put forward in a 
whole variety of forms, between the relations of the League 
and its component States and the relations of a particular 
State and the individual citizens composing it: the supposed 
"police r61e" of the League, the League as the embodiment of 
the "reign of law," the conception of "arming the law, not the 
litigants," the parallels between war and the duel of private 
citizens, etc. (in fact the League Covenant, as is well known, 
does not exclude so-called "private war/' but recognises it as 
the final form of settlement of disputes between its members, 
after the forms of conciliation have failed, and in the absence 

132 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

of agreement of the Council Powers). In the modern State the 
police and the law are formally the reflection of the power of 
the single sovereign authority which is recognised, or is able 
to enforce recognition, by the main body of the citizens; in 
fact the given capitalist class, representing a closely interrelat- 
ed capital-grouping, is the real ruling power, and the State is 
its organ. But in international affairs there is no united cap- 
italist class, and consequently no single ruling power as its 
organ; and therefore there is no "police" and no "law" in in- 
ternational affairs in the same sense as in a particular State, 
because there is no sovereign. Indeed, there is not even an "in- 
ternational civil service," as is sometimes said of the Secretar- 
iat of the League; for in reality all the higher controlling pos- 
itions are most carefully allotted, according to the existing re- 
lation of forces, between the Powers, and their incumbents re- 
main in practice in close relationship to the policy and in- 
structions of the separate Powers of which they remain citi- 
zens. This subordination of the League to the separate real 
sovereignties of the separate Powers is the inevitable reflection 
of imperialism which is not an internationally united system, 
but an antagonistic system of divided Power-groupings with 
continually changing relationships of strength. 

Since there is no internationally unified economic organisa- 
tion of capitalism (no single world trust or single dominant 
capital-grouping), there can be equally no internationally uni- 
fied political organ of capitalism. This root-dilemma of the 
League of Nations, the absence of any corresponding econ- 
omic basis to which it could form the political superstructure, 
and its consequent ghostly existence as a relationship between 
Powers and not any Power itself, received a peculiarly signifi- 
cant demonstration already in the original negotiations pre- 
ceding its formation. 

In his recently issued The League of Nations and the Rule 
of Law: 1918-1935, Professor Alfred Zimmern gives an ac- 
count of the abortive project that was officially put forward 
at the end of the war for carrying forward the system of in- 
ter-Allied economic control after the war and widening it to 


an all-inclusive international system. The character of this 
project and the reasons for its breakdown are highly instruc- 

The war had divided world economy into two highly uni- 
fied and centralised systems, the Allied and the Central Eu- 
ropean. The Allied, by its control of sea-power, drew in the 
majority of the neutral States and thus embraced the greater 
part of the world. A single economic controlling centre gov- 
erned the movements of all important commodities and of 

"Never before has the world been under so complete a 
control of its economic life as during the latter part of the 
war. The loose and private international economic organ- 
isation, which had grown up in the nineteenth century and 
had come to be taken for granted, was suddenly torn asun- 
der and cast aside. Its place was rapidly taken by two highly 
organised governmental systems, covering between them al- 
most the entire globe. The extent to which neutrals and 
other Powers distant from the main scene of fighting were 
drawn into the Allied economic system is well illustrated by 
the fact that during the closing months of the war 90 per 
cent of the sea-going tonnage of the world was under con- 
trol of the Allied Governments in other words, of the 
Allied Maritime Transport Council, which allocated their 
cargoes and arranged their voyages" (p. 146). 

This was the highest measure of supernational economic or- 
ganisation achieved by capitalism. It will be noted that this 
demonstration is important, not only for the proof of the 
technical possibility of the extremely rapid organisation of 
world economy from a single controlling centre, once society 
is directed to this purpose, but equally for the no less signifi- 
cant fact that under capitalism this type of wider unified or- 
ganisation has only been achieved for the purposes of war, for 
conflict with an opposing system. 
Towards the end of the war the proposal was put forward 

134 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

that this system should be continued after the war and ex- 
tended to include the neutrals and ex-enemy States, with the 
participation of representatives of these on the controlling or- 
gans. It is evident that, if this proposal had been capable of 
realisation, a form of internationally organised capitalism, on 
the basis of the victorious Allies' domination, would have 
been established which might have provided a possible basis 
for an attempted capitalist World State. But the scheme met 
with immediate breakdown. The proposal to prolong the in- 
ter-Allied economic organisation was put forward by the Brit- 
ish and French Governments to the United States Govern- 
ment, which was in an immeasurably stronger economic posi- 
tion than the weakened European Powers, to the effect that 
the Allied economic control should be continued after the war 
and should include control of the merchant marine and sup- 
plies of the Central Powers. The reply of the United States 
was an emphatic negative, conveyed in Hoover's Note of Nov- 
ember 8th, 1918: 

"This Government will not agree to any programme that 
even looks like inter-Allied control of our resources after 
peace. After peace, over one-half of the whole export food 
supplies of the world will come from the United States, and 
for the buyers of these supplies to sit in majority in dicta- 
tion to us as to prices and distribution is wholly inconceiv- 
able. The same applies to raw materials." 

There could be no clearer statement of the view of the strong- 
est imperialist Power on any projects of a harmonious "ultra- 

Professor Zimmern laments that this blow sealed the fate 
of the future League of Nations. He considers that the scheme 
"aimed at creating conditions under which and under which 
alone, as it was believed the League of Nations as a political 
organisation could be set up with any hope of initial success"; 
and he concludes: 

"If the peace, as is so often said, was lost, its first great de- 
feat, perhaps its greatest defeat of all, was suffered, not in 


the Peace Conference itself, but during the days and weeks 
immediately following the Armistice, when the economic 
forces were allowed to slip out of the control of statesman- 
ship" (p. 155). 

But it is manifest that what was here revealed was no ac- 
cidental error of "statesmanship." What was here revealed was 
the basic antagonisms of imperialism, inherent in the whole 
organisation of capitalism, so soon as the war-pressure was re- 
moved. No sooner was the German enemy overthrown than 
the new major antagonism of imperialism, the Anglo-Ameri- 
can antagonism, together with the secondary Anglo-French 
antagonism, came to the forefront. The stronger imperialist 
Power refused to enter into any stable compact or bloc. The 
isolation of the United States on the economic field was soon 
followed by its isolation on the political field. The departure 
of the United States killed the League of Nations as a world 
organisation of capitalism. We have here no chapter of ac- 
cidents, but the working out of the basic law of imperialism. 

The history of the League of Nations can thus only be con- 
sidered on the basis of the relations and antagonisms of im- 
perialism. From this follows the original interconnection of 
the League of Nations and the Versailles victor treaty. In gen- 
eral, an association of capitalist States is only realised against 
a common enemy. The Holy Alliance experiment developed 
after the Napoleonic wars for the maintenance of the Vienna 
settlement and the monarchist restoration against the revolu- 
tion. Similar factors may be traced in the genesis of the 
League of Nations. The existing order was once again men- 
aced by revolution. A prolonged war had ended in the vic- 
tory of a coalition which had made a new division of Europe 
and the world. The League of Nations was to be the coping- 
stone to maintain the order established by the outcome of the 
war against new revisionist war or revolutionary change. At 
the same time again with a certain degree of analogy to the 
Holy Alliance into this essentially reactionary basis was 
poured the idealism of the crusade to wipe out war from the 
face of the earth* 

136 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Three factors may thus be traced in the formation of the 
League of Nations. The first was the aim of the victor imper- 
ialist Powers to maintain the fruits of their victory. The sec- 
ond was the aim of capitalism as a whole to maintain its 
threatened rule against the revolution of the subject masses 
and of the colonial peoples. The third was the aim to prevent 
or hinder future wars. These aims were in fact contradictory; 
and the subsequent history has brought out more fully these 

The Holy Alliance aspect of the League of Nations as an 
organisation of imperialism against the revolution and the 
colonial peoples was most prominent in its early stages, dur- 
ing the height of the revolutionary wave after the xvar. Since 
the highest measure of common interest of the entire capitalist 
class is expressed in the common interest of all sections to 
maintain the subjection of the exploited masses, it follows 
that the highest degree of capitalist co-operation is only 
achieved when and in proportion as this common interest of 
class domination is directly menaced. This was illustrated in 
the co-operation of Thiers and Bismarck against the Paris 
Commune, Similarly in the imperialist era the 1900 Eight- 
Power expedition for the suppression of the Boxer rising and 
the looting of Pekin is the one example of a joint operation 
of all the imperialist Powers (although this also was charac- 
terised by sharp inner antagonisms and counter-manoeuvring 
throughout)- So also all the imperialist Powers in varying 
forms and phases conducted armed operations against the 
Russian Revolution. 

This aspect of the League of Nations was most marked in 
its formation and during its early stages. The League of Na- 
tions was in fact no league of "nations," but of a grouping of 
victor imperialist Powers and of secondary States. The colon- 
ial peoples were "represented" only by their masters. Soviet 
Russia, no less than defeated Germany, Austria-Hungary and 
Turkey, were excluded from invitation. The "mandate" sys- 
tem was a transparent cover for the division of the colonial 
spoils of the defeated enemy. A proposal by the Japanese to 


include in the Covenant a clause recognising "the principle 
of equality of nations and just treatment of their nationals" 
and guaranteeing "no distinction on account of race and na- 
tionality," though supported by a majority, was defeated by 
British and American opposition; Lord Cecil objected that 
such a suggestion "raised extremely serious problems for the 
British Empire/' while President Wilson protested that it 
"would raise the race issue throughout the world." 

The consciousness of the fight against the world socialist 
revolution was strongly present in the early stages of the form- 
ation of the League of Nations. A British Foreign Office Mem- 
orandum on the project of a League of Nations in December 
1918 (published for the first time in Professor Zimmern's 
book, already quoted), laid down: 

"We have to look forward to a period when Bolshevism 
or the religion of the international class war will be a 
permanent factor in European policy, and may at any time 
seize the reins of power in States which are or desire to be- 
come members of the League. We ought to lay it down in 
set terms that Governments which promote propaganda 
subversive of the Governments of their neighbors are out- 
side the pale of the League's membership. We can base our 
attitude here on the principle laid down in President Wil- 
son's speech on March 5, 1917: 'The community of interest 
and power upon which peace must henceforth depend im- 
poses upon each nation the duty of seeing to it that all in- 
fluences proceeding from its own citizens meant to encour- 
age and assist revolution in other States should be sternly 
and effectually prevented/ " 

Similarly the Smuts Plan for the League of Nations in Decem- 
ber 1918 coolly proposed a "mandate" system by which the 
Western Powers organised through the League of Nations 
should seize control of Eastern Europe: 

"Europe is being liquidated, and the League of Nations 
must be the heir to this great estate. The peoples left be- 

138 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

hind by the decomposition of Russia, Austria and Turkey 
are mostly untrained politically; many of them are either 
incapable of or deficient in power of self-government; they 
are mostly destitute and will require much nursing towards 
economic and political independence." 

So, too, the Lloyd George Memorandum to the Peace Confer- 
ence in March 1919 openly spoke of the League of Nations as 
the "alternative to Bolshevism": 

"If we are to offer Europe an alternative to Bolshevism, 
we must make the League of Nations into something which 
will be both a safeguard to those nations who are prepared 
for fair dealing with their neighbours and a menace to those 
who would trespass on the rights of their neighbours, 
whether they are imperialist Empires or imperialist Bol- 

This openly counter-revolutionary role of the original con- 
ception of the League of Nations was concealed under the 
banner of "democracy," which covered the reality of imperi- 
alism. Wars in the Wilsonian philosophy were the conse- 
quence of the dynastic ambitions of kings and emperors; to 
these were opposed the peaceful aspirations of the peoples, 
once these were liberated through the twofold process of na- 
tional self-determination (regarded as only applicable to the 
subject peoples under enemy imperialism, and not to the far 
larger number of subject peoples under Allied imperialism) 
and of parliamentary democracy; there was no sign of recog- 
nition that under capitalism the regime of "democracy" cov- 
ered the rule of finance-capital, the most predatory force in 
history and the driving-force of modern war. 

In view of these original plans of the founders of the League 
of Nations to organise it as an instrument for the maintenance 
of imperialist domination over the subject peoples, for holding 
down Germany in subjection, and for organising the joint ex- 


ploitation and caning up of Russia, Eastern Europe and the 
Near East, it was with full justification that Soviet Russia re- 
garded the original conception of the League of Nations with 
suspicion as a "coalition of certain States endeavouring to 
usurp power over other States" and a "pseudo-international 
body" which "really serves as a mere mask to conceal from the 
masses the aggressive aims of the imperialist policy of certain 
Great Powers or their vassals" (Soviet Note to the Secretary- 
General of the League of Nations in 1923). The twofold char- 
acter of the conception involved in the League of Nations, on 
the one hand the conception of a league of peoples for peace, 
and on the other hand the conception of an instrument of 
combined imperialist domination, was sharply distinguished in 
Chicherin's Note to President Wilson on the question of the 
League of Nations on October 24th, 1918, which at the same 
time set out the constructive proposals of the Bolsheviks for a 
real League of Nations. These constructive proposals includ- 
ed: (i) self-determination of all peoples including those under 
Allied imperialism; (2) cancellation of all war-debts; (3) ex- 
propriation of the capitalists in all countries and organisation 
of international economic cooperation on a basis of collective 
economy; (4) international disarmament. Chicherin wrote: 

"While agreeing to participate in the negotiations even 
with Governments which do not as yet represent the will of 
the people, we on our part should like to ascertain in detail 
from you, Mr. President, your conception of the League of 
Nations with which you propose to crown the work of peace. 
You demand the independence of Poland, Serbia, Belgium, 
and liberty for the peoples of Austria-Hungary. You probab- 
ly mean to say that the popular masses everywhere must first 
take the determination of their fate into their own hands in 
order afterwards to associate in a free League of Nations. 
But strangely enough, we have not seen among your demands 
the liberation of either Ireland, Egypt, India or even the 
Philippines, and we greatly desire that these peoples, through 
their freely elected representatives, should have an oppor- 

140 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tunity jointly with us to take part in the organisation of the 
League of Nations. 

"Before commencing negotiations for the establishment of 
a League of Nations we also desire, Mr. President, to ascer- 
tain what solution you propose for the numerous problems 
of an economic character which have an essential importance 
for the cause of future peace. . . . You know as well as we, 
Mr. President, that this war is the result of the policy of all 
capitalist States. . . . 

"We therefore propose that the League of Nations should 
be based upon the expropriation of the capitalists of all 
countries. ... If you should agree to this, Mr. President, if 
the sources of new wars should for ever be blocked up in this 
manner, there can be no doubt that all economic barriers 
could easily be removed, and that the peoples controlling the 
means of production which they operate would be vitally in- 
terested in a mutual exchange of the products they do not 
want for the things they need. This would result in the ex- 
change of commodities between nations, each producing 
what it could best produce, and the League of Nations would 
be a league of mutual aid to the labouring masses. It would 
then be easy to reduce the armed forces to the minimum 
necessary for the maintenance of public safety In the in- 
terior. . . . 

"We have tried to formulate our proposals concerning a 
League of Nations with precision in order to prevent the 
League of Nations from becoming a League of Capitalists 
against the nations." 

But there remained "another possibility": 

"But there is also another possibility. We have to deal with 
President Wilson of the Archangel attack and the Siberian 
invasion. We also have to deal with the President Wilson of 
the League of Nations peace programme. Is not the real Pre- 
sident Wilson, who in point of fact is guiding the policy of 
the American capitalist Government, actually the former of 
the two? Is he not the American Government, the Govern- 


ment of the American joint stock companies, the industrial 
commercial railway trusts and banks in short, the Govern- 
ment of the American capitalists? If so, is it not possible 
that the proposal to establish a League of Nations, which 
emanates from this same American capitalist Government, 
will actually bind the people by new chains, and that an 
international trust will be formed for the exploitation of 
the working classes and the oppression of the weaker 

It will be seen that the Russian proposals for a League of 
Nations in October 1918 touched on the basic issues for any 
permanent world organisation of the peoples. This line was 
not followed. It was the alternative line, the line of the "inter- 
national trust for the exploitation of the working classes and 
the oppression of the weaker peoples," that was attempted to 
be realised. 

Nevertheless, this line also, the line of the "international 
trust," could not in fact be realised, for the reasons that we 
have already analysed. The inner imperialist antagonisms pre- 
vented it. No world union of imperialism could be realised. 
Defections, splits and conflicts successively weakened the 
League until a point was reached at which only two of the im- 
perialist Great Powers were effectively participating in its work. 
The process of weakening reached such a stage that, fourteen 
years after its foundation, the League of Nations was inviting 
the Soviet Union to join it in order to strengthen its ranks, 
and the Soviet Union began to play a leading part in the 
League which had originally been formed against it. 

In order to understand this transformation in the whole sit- 
uation, composition and role of the League of Nations in its 
present latest phase, it is necessary to examine first the imper- 
ialist antagonisms within and without the League which shat- 
tered its originally conceived r61e as an attempted world union 
of imperialism, and thus led the way, through its successive 
weakening, to the present new stage. This brings us in fact to 
the second aspect of the League as the arena of imperialist an- 
tagonisms. This aspect came increasingly to the front in the 

142 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

second phase of the League's existence, in the period of tem- 
porary stabilisation, i.e. in proportion as the character of the 
League as the union of the victor imperialist Powers against 
the defeated enemy and against the world revolutionary wave 
began to pass into the background. Germany was admitted into 
the League, and the League became for a period the recognised 
meeting-ground for the negotiations and interrelations of the 
leading European imperialist Powers. But this aspect of the 
League as the arena of imperialist antagonisms, inherent in its 
whole character, had in fact been strongly marked from the 
outset already in the preliminary negotiations which led to its 

Three imperialist Powers had originally shaped the League 
of Nations, the United States, Britain and France* But these 
Powers were in fact pursuing contrary aims and policies; and 
these contrary policies were reflected in the outcome, as is in- 
deed visible in the Covenant, which is no unitary document, 
but an amalgam, capable of very diverse interpretations and of 
very doubtful efficacy in a serious international crisis. 

France was above all concerned to safeguard its gains 
through the Versailles Treaty and its dominance in Europe on 
the basis of the chain of new States established through that 
settlement. For this reason France sought to establish and 
strengthen the League of Nations as a legally binding inter- 
national instrument for joint action in maintaining the Ver- 
sailles settlement and the new frontiers established. Consistent- 
ly with this, France sought to establish an international army 
of the League; this was defeated by British and American op- 
position. In the same way, later, France fought for the Protocol, 
which would have established automatic assistance in the case 
of aggression; British opposition defeated this. 

Britain, whose direct gains through Versailles lay essentially 
outside Europe, was opposed to any binding commitments of a 
general character, or outside its immediate sphere of interests. 
Thus Britain originally opposed the words of Article 10 of the 
Covenant, "to preserve as against external aggression the terri- 
torial integrity" of all member States (supported by the 
United States and France), and has later repeatedly "interpret- 


ed" them as not to be taken literally. British polity sought to 
minimise the League of Nations as no more than an instru- 
ment of international consultation, a continuation and exten- 
sion of the old "Concert of Europe" into permanent forms. 
Official British expression of scepticism as to the whole machin- 
ery of the League of Nations and the conception of "collective 
security" may be traced throughout the post-war period: as in 
the 1919 official commentary on the League of Nations (Cmd. 
151), explaining that "private xrar" is still "contemplated as 
possible," and that the League only served to "establish an or- 
ganisation which may make peaceful co-operation easy"; in the 
1925 British Government Declaration to the Council (Cmd. 
2368) that the League, while able to deal with minor "mis- 
understandings," must be regarded as powerless to prevent 
wars "springing from deep-lying causes of hostility, which for 
historic or other reasons divided great and powerful States"; or 
in the 1935 British Government Memorandum (Cmd. 4827) 
that "the existing international machinery cannot be relied on 
as a protection against an aggressor." 

The United States in the first stage of its policy, expressed 
through Wilson, sought to establish through the League of Na- 
tions a world federation for peace under American domina- 
tion, since world peace constituted the most favourable situa- 
tion for American economic and financial penetration, corres- 
ponding to its superior economic strength. On the other hand, 
the United States was not interested, as Britain and France, In 
the direct "spoils" aspect of the Treaty of Versailles or the 
European settlement. As soon as it became clear that American 
domination in any such general bloc was not possible, in the 
face of British and French opposition, and that American 
policy was instead only becoming thereby involved in Euro- 
pean commitments and conflicts in which it had no interest, 
the Wilson policy was reversed and the United States refused 
to enter the League. 

The withdrawal of the United States marked the first deci- 
sive rift in the League of Nations as an attempted world bloc 
of imperialism. This basic imperialist antagonism was stronger 
than the attempted combination through the League. From 

144 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

this point the League was revealed as no longer a general com- 
bination, but a partial combination under British-French dom- 
ination. The withdrawal of the United States was immediately 
used by British policy as a ground for no longer regarding 
the League as effective or its obligations as binding in the 
same way as originally intended. The 1925 Declaration of the 
British Government stated: 

"The League of Nations in its present shape is not the 
League designed by the framers of the Covenant. They no 
doubt contemplated, and, so far as they could, provided 
against, the difficulties which might arise from the non- 
inclusion of a certain number of States within the circle of 
League membership. But they never supposed that among 
these States would be found so many of the most powerful 
nations of the world, least of all did they foresee that one of 
them would be the United States of America." 

Similarly, the International Blockade Committee of the League 
in 1921 had already reported that, in view of the departure of 
the United States, the sanctions clauses of Article 16 could no 
longer be regarded as automatically and universally effective, 
as laid down by the Covenant. 

After the withdrawal of the United States, the British- 
French antagonism governed the proceedings of the League 
and paralysed its action. France fought for the line of the Pro- 
tocol. Britain countered with the Locarno Pact, which while 
having the appearance of increasing British commitments in 
Europe, in reality expressed British withdrawal from the gen- 
eral obligations of the League by explicitly confining British 
commitments to Western Europe. To counterbalance French 
dominance in Europe Britain negotiated to bring Germany 
into the League. The entry of Germany into the League in 
1926 at first gave the effect of widening its character, removing 
its one-sided role as the organ of the Versailles victors, and 
instead bringing once again to the front the conception of a 
union of Western imperialism with a markedly anti-soviet 
orientation, especially in the aim of British policy. But this 


aim also was defeated. The challenge of the rising new Ger- 
man imperialism against Versailles only brought new antagon- 
isms into the League; Germany had only entered the League, 
as the subsequently published letter of Stresemann to the ex- 
Crown Prince made clear, for the purpose of manoeuvring; 
later, when the time was ripe, Germany went out of the 
League in order to carry forward the struggle to a new stage 
with free hands. But by this time a profound transformation 
was developing in the whole international situation. 

The world economic crisis and its consequences brought far- 
reaching changes in the international political situation, and 
a general sharpening of all antagonisms, which had their in- 
evitable effect on the whole character of the League of Na- 
tions. Hitherto the League had appeared as the general union 
of the leading imperialist Powers other than the United States. 
In the new sharpened situation this could no longer continue. 
The first sign of the new war-phase that was developing was 
Japan's war of spoliation against China in 1931. Japan and 
China were both members of the League; China appealed to 
the League. But Britain gave diplomatic support to Japan; 
the League proved impotent to act. This impotence of the 
League in the first war involving a Great Power dealt a crush- 
ing blow to the reputation of the League as an instrument to 
prevent war. 

But the effect of Japan's action went further. The League, 
while taking no action against Japan, eventually drew up a 
report condemnatory of Japan's aggression, even though offer- 
ing concessions to Japan. Japan rejected the report, and in 
March 1933 left the League. Thereby Japan showed that for 
the purposes of its war of aggression it was more convenient 
to act from outside the League. In the autumn of 1933 Ger- 
many followed Japan's example. A new situation thus develop- 
ed in which the Powers concentrating on immediate war were 
passing out of the League (Italy subsequently remaining only 
in nominal membership), while the Powers remaining in the 
League were those opposed to immediate war. This was the 
first factor in the new phase of the League of Nations. 

The second factor, connected with the first, arose from the 

146 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

increasing rdle and activity of the secondary and smaller States 
in the League, in proportion as the ranks of the Great Powers 
became weakened. Originally, and in the original conception . 
and intention, the League had been completely dominated by 
the leading Powers, with the smaller States relegated to a role 
of impotent passivity in the background. The Covenant laid 
down that the Council, in whose hands lay all effective control 
of the League, should consist of the five victor Great Powers 
as permanent members, and (conceded only after violent 
protest from the smaller States at the Peace Conference) four 
non-permanent members from among the smaller States, i.e. 
that the Powers should have a permanent majority on the 
Council. But the increasing antagonisms between the Powers 
transformed and undermined this position. On the one hand, 
the number of imperialist Great Powers in the League sank 
to three; on the other hand, through successive changes con- 
sequent on various conflicts and intrigues, the number of non- 
permanent seats, representing the secondary and smaller States, 
was raised to nine, thus transforming the formal balance on 
the Council. This change, while not removing the inevitable 
actual domination of the Powers, and in particular, Britain 
and France, was not entirely formal, but reflected a certain 
change in the balance of forces. For the majority of the smaller 
States, having the most to fear from war and from the ambi- 
tions or revisionist aims of their neighbours, were the most 
anxious to develop the League as an instrument for the col- 
lective maintenance of peace. The Little Entente, the Baltic 
States, the majority of the Balkan States, and the Scandina- 
vian States played an active r61e in this respect within the 
League. In proportion as the menace of the Fascist war 
offensive increased, this activity of the majority of the smaller 
States to endeavour to make the League an effective instru- 
ment of collective defence against aggression became intensi- 
fied, and forced itself to the front in the proceedings of the 
League. And in this fight for peace they were now to find a 
powerful ally in the Soviet Union. This brings us to the third 
and most important factor of change in the situation of the 
League of Nations. 


The third new factor arose from the advance in strength of 
the Soviet Union. The original Holy Alliance aspect o the 
League of Nations had failed and successively weakened, not 
by the intention of its founders, but through the further de- 
velopment of the world situation, the advancing strength of 
the Soviet Union and the weakening of imperialism by its own 
divisions. The Soviet Union had defeated its enemies, built up 
its Socialist economy, and emerged as a world Power whose 
weight had increasingly to be taken into account. To meet the 
rising German menace and the weakening of the League, 
France worked to make possible the entry of the Soviet Union 
into the League of Nations. The entry of the Soviet Union 
into the League of Nations took place in 1934 and brought a 
completely new situation. For the first time the ring of im- 
perialism was broken, and a Power outside imperialism func- 
tioned in the inner Council of the League. 

Thus a far-reaching reversal of relations had developed. 
The League of Nations remained a combination of imperialist 
States, with only one Socialist State now in their midsL But the 
most active war-making Powers had passed out of the League 
or developed an openly negative attitude towards it. The new 
Socialist Power was able to exercise its influence within it. 
The smaller States which feared war sought to develop it as 
an instrument for the maintenance of peace. The imperialist 
Powers were divided into those which openly drove to war, 
either from outside or against the League, and those which 
were hesitant or opposed to immediate war and sought, with 
considerable hesitations and inconsistencies, to maintain the 
League as an instrument to impede or delay war. Thus the 
popular forces were able to take advantage of this rift in the 
imperialist camp and utilise the new relation of forces within 
the League as a means towards strengthening the struggle 
against the Fascist war offensive of imperialism. 

The contradictory forces of this extremely complex new 
situation were partially illustrated in connection with the 
Italian war on Abyssinia in 1935. In this case the situation of 
the imperialist Powers, in contrast to 1931, was such that 
British imperialism was concerned, in defence of its interests 

148 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

in Northern Africa, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean, 
to exercise a restraining influence on Italy, while France had 
reached a basis of close understanding with Italy, in order to 
win assistance against the menace of Nazi Germany, and was 
hesitant to act against Italy, so long as Britain's attitude to 
future Nazi aggression remained ambiguous. The Soviet 
Union alone proclaimed its opposition in principle to the 
colonial aggression of Italy and declared its readiness to take 
part in all collective measures for the defence of peace against 
aggression. For the first time in its history the League of Na- 
tions took a certain very limited action against a Great Power 
in the shape of partial economic sanctions, but very tardily, 
with extreme weakness, and accompanied by offers of con- 
cessions from the imperialist Committee of Five, dominated by 
Britain and France, which were from the outset in open viola- 
tion of the Covenant. The attempted Hoare-Laval settlement 
of British and French imperialism, which sought to reward 
Italian aggression with extensive territories at the expense of 
Abyssinia, and which was put forward as an alternative serv- 
ing to delay any embargo on oil supplies so long as such an 
embargo might have been effective in bringing the war to an 
end, completed the strangling of the League's rdle. The out- 
come demonstrated once again the incapacity of the League of 
Nations, as so far developed, to prevent war or defend peace. 
Nevertheless, the experience revealed the growth of the forces 
fighting for peace; popular pressure played a certain part in 
enforcing even the very limited action that was taken, as well 
as in defeating the Hoare-Laval plan; and it revealed also the 
extreme instability of the present relation of forces in the 
League of Nations. 

The demonstration of impotence of the League of Nations 
before the Italian war of aggression on Abyssinia, both being 
members of the League, following on the similar demonstra- 
tion of impotence before the Japanese war of aggression on 
China in 1931, and with the prospect of Nazi German aggres- 
sion in Europe in the near future, brought sharply to the 
forefront the problem of the League of Nations and the alter- 
natives before it. One school, represented especially in strong 


sections of British ruling opinion, sought to draw the lesson of 
the failure of the League of Nations, to write off the whole 
conception of collective security as bankrupt, and to seek to 
confine the League in future to the role of a body of interna- 
tional consultation and conciliation, abandoning or liquidat- 
ing the provisions of the Covenant for the collective mainten- 
ance of peace. This view, hinted at in the National Govern- 
ment's declarations that the whole question of collective sec- 
urity would have to be reconsidered in the near future, received 
frank expression from Lord Lothian: 

"I am reluctantly drawn to the conclusion that the only 
honourable and practical course for us is to give notice at 
once that after two years we shall no longer accept the 
automatic and universal obligation to go to war contained 
in Articles 10 and 16, and to invite our fellow-members to 
consider how the League can be restored to the universality 
which is its essence and continued as an instrument for in- 
ternational conciliation,'* 

(LORD LOTHIAN in The Times, April sgth, 1936) 

The other school, most typically represented by the French 
Peace Plan of April 1936, sought to strengthen the League 
of Nations by a supplementary system of guarantee pacts in- 
volving definite obligations of all participating States for col- 
lective defence against aggression. 

The coming stage is thus likely to see a battle developing 
over the future of the League of Nations, The existing phase 
is a reflection of the extreme present instability in the camp 
of imperialism, with the advances of the forces of Fascism and 
of the elements driving to war on the one side, with the 
advance of the socialist forces and of the popular peace front 
on the other, and with the extreme hesitations and divisions 
of policy within the ruling imperialist camp. It is obvious that 
this situation is no static one; it is capable of rapid develop- 
ment in either direction. On the one hand, the advance of the 
socialist revolution, or of the transitional stage of the people's 
front, in a series of countries could lead to a rapid and even 

150 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

decisive change In the balance within the League of Nations. 
On the other hand, the main imperialist forces will certainly 
exert every endeavour to restore the old balance, to bring Ger- 
many back into the League, and to rebuild once again the 
temporarily shaken front of imperialist counter-revolution 
within the League of Nations. 

In particular, the battle is likely to develop in the imme- 
diate future between the attempt to liquidate the basis of the 
League of Nations as an instrument of collective peace, draw- 
ing the Fascist States into its midst, and revising and emascu- 
lating Articles 10 and 16, and the attempt to strengthen its 
basis, in combination with an inclusive system of pacts of 
mutual security, as a binding instrument for collective defence 
against aggression. 

The outcome of this battle, which reflects all the social- 
political forces of the present situation, will depend on the 
further development of the inner social-political struggle in 
the leading countries. No dogmatic conclusion can be drawn 
with regard to the future of the League of Nations, because 
the League of Nations is no absolute unchanging institution, 
but only a relationship of continually changing forces; and 
in consequence its r61e and significance at any given stage can 
only be judged concretely in relation to the given situation. 


From the outset the League of Nations never enjoyed the 
confidence of the imperialist Powers as a general mechanism 
of security. The United States repudiated it. British scepti- 
cism and refusal of any general commitments was unconcealed. 
France, while laying the greatest stress on the binding char- 
acter of the Covenant, was the first to develop a system of 
additional treaties and alliances for its security. 

President Wilson had declared: 

"There can be no leagues or alliances or special coven- 
ants and understandings within the general and common 
family of the League of Nations." 


But President Wilson had himself violated this at the outset 
with the proposed British-American-French Treaty of Guar- 
antee, which only finally fell through owing to American re- 
pudiation. Since there was no confidence in any quarter in 
the collective system of the League of Nations, there inevitably 
followed a long series of separate pacts of particular States, 
either directly outside the League of Nations, or drawn up as 
falling within its framework. The separatist tendency of 
Power-relations under imperialism proved stronger than the 
attempted universal system of the League of Nations. 

Of these numerous pacts of the post-war period it is neces- 
sary to distinguish two types. The first was the attempted 
world pact, the Kellogg Pact or Paris Pact, which sought to 
establish a world system of "renunciation of war" separate 
from and outside the League of Nations. The second was the 
series of regional pacts, which ranged from minor non-aggres- 
sion treaties between two States to attempted wider regional 
systems, notably the Washington Nine-Power Treaty for the 
Far East, the Locarno Pact for Western Europe, the moves 
for a Pan-American League, the abortive schemes for "Pan- 
Europe," and the proposed Eastern Security Pact for Eastern 
Europe, which received its partial realisation in the Franco- 
Soviet Pact. 

The Kellogg Pact, inspired from the United States, repre- 
sented the American attempt at an alternative world system, 
under American leadership, to the League of Nations, which 
had fallen under British-French leadership. It was signed in 
1928 and eventually ratified by 65 States, or a wider range 
than the membership of the League of Nations. It was thus in 
form for the first time an all-embracing xvorld system, but it 
achieved this all-embracing character only by being empty of 
any real content. Formally the signatories 

(1) "solemnly declare that they condemn recourse to war 
for the solution of international controversies, and renounce 
it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with 
one another"; 

(2) "agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes 

152 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin the 
may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sough 
except by pacific means." 

Actually this pledge was treated in a fully Pickwickian sens< 
by all the imperialist signatories from the outset. This wa 
made clear in the statements and reservations of the variou, 
Powers preceding signature. The United States Governmen 
excepted from its operation any action for the maintenance 
of the Monroe Doctrine. The French Government insistec 
that the pact must not be understood to refer to wars o 
self-defence or in fulfilment of treaty obligations. The Britisl 
Government made the most sweeping reservation of all in it 
dispatch of May igth, 1928: 

"There are certain regions of the world the welfare anc 
integrity of which constitute a special and vital interes 
for our peace and safety. His Majesty's Government have 
been at pains to make it clear in the past that interference 
in these regions cannot be suffered. Their protection agains 
attack is to the British Empire a measure of self-defence 
It must be clearly understood that His Majesty's Govern 
ment in Great Britain accept the new treaty upon the dis 
tinct understanding that it does not prejudice their free 
dom of action in this respect." 

Not content with the "defence" of the Empire, covering '< 
quarter of the world, Britain thus reserved for itself ful 
"freedom of action" in any unspecified "regions of the world' 
where it might at any time claim "a special and vital interest/ 
This sweeping daim of British imperialism left the Monroe 
Doctrine behind as a parochial affair in comparison. Needles: 
to say, this daim was thereafter taken as equally applicable 
to themselves by the other Powers; thus the Italian represen 
tative at Geneva specifically referred to it as justifying Italy*! 
daim that its war on Abyssinia was no breach of the Kellogj 
What, then, remained of the Kellogg Pact even on the da] 


that it was signed? Wars of "defence" were clearly understood 
to be excluded from its operation. Wars for the maintenance 
of colonial possessions or in execution of treaties were equally 
understood to be excluded. So were wars on behalf of "special 
and vital interests" in any "regions of the world." With these 
small exceptions the imperialist signatories "renounced" war. 
The innocent might be excused for wondering what was left 
to renounce. But the lawyers were ready with an answer. The 
imperialist Powers had renounced wars of "aggression." Since 
it is well known that no modern State in its own opinion ever 
conducts a war of "aggression," the pledge was not exacting. 

Since the Kellogg Pact it has been noted that no "wars" 
have taken place any more in the world. Military operations, 
involving considerable slaughter and destruction, have taken 
place in the Far East, in South America and in Africa. In no 
case have these been preceded by a declaration of war. In the 
opinion of the general staffs this precedent may be expected to 
be followed in the future. This is likely to be the maximum 
contribution of imperialism to the abolition of "war." 

The testing of the Kellogg Pact as an attempted world sys- 
tem under American leadership took place over the Japanese 
invasion of Manchuria. The United States Government called 
for "consultation" by the signatories of the pact as the neces- 
sary sequel in view of its violation. The Secretary of State, 
Stimson, declared in his address of August 8th, 1932: 

"Consultation between the signatories of the pact, when 
faced with a threat of its violation, becomes inevitable. Any 
effective invocation of the power of world opinion postu- 
lates discussion and consultation. As long as the signatories 
of the pact support the policy which the American Govern- 
ment has endeavoured to establish during the past three 
years of arousing a united and living spirit of public 
opinion as a sanction of the pact, as long as this course is 
adopted and endorsed by the great nations of the world who 
are signatories of that treaty, consultations will take place 
as an incident to the unification of that opinion." 

154 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

The appeal fell in practice on deaf ears. Britain was support- 
ing Japan. Repeated American overtures were rebuffed. Once 
again the basic Anglo-American antagonism shattered the at- 
tempt at a world system. 

As against the failure of the attempted world pacts to pre- 
vent war, represented by the League Covenant and the Kel- 
logg Pact, the theory has been put forward that the correct 
line of advance lies along the path of regional pacts of mutual 
security, since these would correspond to the close and imme- 
diate interests of the States concerned. Here, however a dis- 
tinction is necessary. While an agreement of this character 
for mutual assistance between neighbouring States can have 
an impeding effect on the outbreak of war, it is obvious, 
especially where the question of the larger Powers arises, that 
the modern world cannot be finally thus divided into com- 
partments, that what happens in one region is bound to affect 
another, and that therefore any regional pacts require for 
their full effectiveness to be part of a wider world system. The 
fate of the major regional pacts so far attempted is suggestive 
for this. The Washington Nine-Power Treaty and the Locarno 
Treaty, which were both essentially separatist in character, 
have broken down. The Franco-Soviet Pact, which is of a new 
type and explicitly not exclusive, but open to extension and 
framed to fall within a wider system, stands at present, though 
its effectiveness has still to be brought to the test. 

The Washington Nine-Power Treaty of 1922 guaranteed the 
territorial integrity of China and established the principle of 
the Open Door in China. This did not prevent the repeated 
armed operations of the signatory Powers in China during 
the following decade. The treaty was finally torn up by the 
Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and its establishment 
of the puppet State of Manchukuo in 1932. 

The Locarno Treaties of 1925 were designed to separate 
the question of security in Western Europe from that of 
Eastern Europe by a complicated system of mutual guarantee 
of the western frontier of Germany in relation to France and 
Belgium, by the five Powers, Britain, France, Belgium, Ger- 


many and Italy. Although in form subordinate to the League 
of Nations, it represented in fact the line of British policy to 
separate itself from commitments in Eastern Europe, and to 
restore Germany to equality with France in a system of West- 
ern imperialism under British leadership. For a period this 
served to assist the recovery of the new German imperialism. 
But the further expansion of German power burst the frame- 
work. In 1936 Germany denounced the Locarno Pact in order 
to carry through the re-militarisation of the right bank of the 
Rhine, while offering a new treaty on this basis for Western 

The projects of some form of "Pan-European Union" came 
to the front during the period of temporary stabilisation. The 
project in its first stages reflected the short-lived phase of 
Franco-German co-operation associated with the Thoiry con- 
versations of Briand and Stresemann in 1926. The name "Pan- 
Europe" was in fact a misnomer; since the scheme, as original- 
ly put forward, excluded alike the Soviet Union (45 per cent 
of Europe) and Britain, while including the African colonial 
territory of the Continental European Powers, covering an 
area three times as large as the proposed European area to 
be included. 1 The whole scheme was indeed conceived as an 
opposing bloc to the Soviet Union, the British Empire and 
the United States. For its most active supporters, represented 
by Count Coudenhove-Kalergi and the Pan-Europe Union 
(founded in 1953, with extended semi-official congresses of 
leading statesmen in 1926 and 1930), the principal significance 
of the project was as a bloc against the Soviet Union. Europe 
must "close its economic front against Russia"; Europe must 
organise "a single army against the Russian danger"; this was 
the running theme of the journal of the movement, Paneu- 
ropa. Similarly, the Manchester Guardian reported of Briand 

*The Inclusion of the African colonial territory to constitute three- 
quarters of "Pan-Europe" is delightfully explained in the official ABC 
of Pan-Europe, issued by the Pan-Europe Union under the honorary 
presidency of Briand, as representing "the southern extension of Europe 
across the Mediterranean " (Pan-Europa A B C, by R. N. Coudenhove- 
Kalergi, Vienna, 1931, p. 23), 

156 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

in 1929, when he was pressing forward his policy of Pan- 

"He has become obsessed with the communist danger, 
and the isolation of Russia has become one of the chief 
aims of his policy. There is reason to believe that the desire 
to isolate Russia has something to do with his whole pro- 
posal of a European Federation." 

(Manchester Guardian Weekly, October 4th, 1929) 

In 1930 Briand issued his Memorandum for a United States 
of Europe to all the European States except the Soviet Union. 
British policy, however, with its extra-European commitments 
was essentially opposed either to entering a European Federa- 
tion or to permitting one to be formed without it, Some 
British statesmen were disposed to flirt with the conception of 
a European Federation as the organisation of a bloc against 
the United States: 

"Already even in those friendly regions (the Dominions) 
we were being injuriously affected by the menacing rivalry 
of the United States of America, who had been making 
gains in them as in other parts of the world at our expense. 
The portent of America with half the gold of the world and 
five times our annual income had set the statesmen of the 
Continent of Europe thinking. Small wonder was it that 
the idea of a United States of Europe had emerged and 
was taking shape as an equipoise to the formidable eco- 
nomic Power on the other side of the Atlantic." 

(SIR ROBERT HORNE, speech at the Constitutional 

Club, February 26 th, 1930) 

But the dominant British policy was expressed in the emphatic 
negative of Amery at the Berlin Pan-Europe Congress in May 
1930 ("We cannot belong simultaneously to Pan-Europe and 
the British Commonwealth"), and in the editorial of The 
Times of September gth, 1930: 


"Very few States would care to proceed with the plan 
if Great Britain were to take no part in it, and therefore 
in view of British reluctance to have anything to do with 
an exclusively European political body, nothing in the way 
of a new political union is in the least likely to arise from 
the present discussion." 

British opposition in practice killed the scheme. 

This type of regional pact was in essence a reactionary 
proposal, directed solely to wider antagonisms, and at the 
same time in practical contradiction to the real conflicts of 
imperialism within Europe. So long as Europe remains a series 
of imperialist metropolitan centres with colonial appendages 
in all the other continents, and at the same time with extreme 
antagonisms over the divisions of those colonies, the "United 
States of Europe" or "Pan-Europe" remains either a mirage 
or solely a project for a counter-revolutionary bloc. The even- 
tual closer union of the European countries within the wider 
union of the world can only be achieved along a different 
path, when the imperialist basis of the European States has 
been overthrown. 

The next stage of the movement towards wider types of 
regional pact (omitting for the moment the very important 
narrower types of pact, such as the closer political union of 
the Little Entente, the Baltic Pact and the Balkan Pact, all 
characteristic developments of the recent period) took a new 
form in connection with the negotiations for an Eastern 
European Pact of Mutual Security. Here the peace policy of 
the Soviet Union played the leading r61e. Already in 1929 
the Soviet Union had negotiated a Treaty of Non-Aggression 
with the neighbouring States, the Baltic States, Poland and 
Rumania, as well as with Turkey and Persia, In 1933 the 
advent of Hitler with the openly proclaimed Nazi policy of 
aggression in Central and Eastern Europe and territorial 
conquests at the expense of the Soviet Union, and the follow- 
ing German-Polish Treaty in the beginning of 1934, made 
clear to all that here was the burning point of the menace 

158 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

of war in Europe. In May 1934, in view of the manifest 
failure of the Disarmament Conference, Litvinov put forward 
the proposal that the Disarmament Conference should be re- 
constituted as a Permanent Peace Conference charged with the 
duty of preventing war and devising a workable system of 
guarantees. At the same time the project was developed of 
an Eastern Security Pact or "Eastern Locarno/' as it was at 
first commonly called, which should include Germany, the 
Soviet Union, Poland, the Baltic States, Finland and Czecho- 
slovakia in a treaty of mutual guarantee against attack, and a 
parallel mutual guarantee of France, Germany and the Soviet 
Union. From the outset Germany and Poland showed hostility 
to the conception of such a Peace Pact. Britain was at first 
hesitant, but eventually in the summer of 1934 gave the 
scheme an official blessing, while disclaiming any commit- 
ments. At the London Conference of February 1935, the 
communique agreed by Britain and France put forward the 
specific proposal for a "general settlement" on the basis of 
such a system of regional pacts as the best means to "contri- 
bute to the restoration of confidence and the prospects of 
peace among nations": 

"This general settlement would make provision for the or- 
ganisation of security in Europe, particularly by means of 
the conclusion of pacts, freely negotiated between all the in- 
terested parties, and ensuring mutual assistance in Eastern 

The Stresa Conference of Britain, France and Italy in April 
1 9$5> reaffirmed this decision. 

All these proposals, however, met with a flat negative from 
Germany and Poland. Germany was only prepared to agree, 
not to mutual help against attack, but to the abstract princi- 
ple of "non-aggression" (already covered in the Kellogg Pact 
and shown inadequate) and "non-assistance to the aggressor," 
i.e. the Fascist principle of the "localisation of war." In con- 
sequence, the Eastern Security Pact, which was to have in- 


eluded Germany equally with France and the Soviet Union, 
finally emerged, owing to the refusal of Germany to partici- 
pate, as the Franco-Soviet Pact in May 1935. 

The Franco-Soviet Pact was immediately attacked by all 
Nazi and Fascist propaganda as a "military alliance" and 
equivalent to the encirclement of Germany. Nothing could 
be further from the truth. The Franco-Soviet Pact, which was 
expressly by its terms drawn up within the limits of the 
Covenant of the League of Nations, marked a new departure 
in this type of agreement for the maintenance of peace by 
explicitly including in its terms (in the attached Protocol) 
the declaration that it was open and remained open for 
Germany to join: 

"The two Governments put on record that the negoti- 
ations which have just resulted in the signature of this 
treaty were primarily entered upon in order to complete 
a security agreement comprising all the countries of North- 
Eastern Europethe U.S.S.R., Germany, Czecho-Slovakia, 
Poland, and the Baltic States bordering upon the ILS.S.R.; 
besides this agreement there was to have been concluded 
a treaty of assistance between the U.S.S.R., France, and 
Germany, under which each of these three States would be 
pledged to come to the assistance of any one of them sub- 
jected to an aggression on the part of one of those three 
States. Although circumstances have not hitherto permitted 
the conclusion of these agreements, which the two parties 
still look upon as desirable, it remains a fact, nevertheless, 
that the undertaking set forth in the Franco-Soviet Treaty 
should be understood to come into play only within the 
limits contemplated in the tripartite agreement previously 

It would be a highly curious form of "encirclement" in which 
the supposed "encircled" party is continuously invited to join 
as an equal partner, and refuses only by his own wish in order 
to pursue his openly proclaimed plans of aggression. 

160 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

The Franco-Soviet Pact, -within the Covenant of the League 
of Nations, is to-day, when the Locarno Pact and all the other 
instruments have broken down, the principal pillar of peace, 
so far as diplomatic machinery can go. The extension of this 
system to a similar series of agreements with the Soviet Union, 
which remains the centre of the fight for peace in the diploma- 
tic field, on the part of other imperialist Powers opposed to 
immediate war, would offer the maximum possibility under 
existing conditions for strengthening the front for peace in 
the diplomatic field in order to impede, at any rate for a 
period, the race to war. 


From the above analysis some provisional conclusions may 
be drawn on the vexed question of "collective security." 

The abstract principle of collective security may be simply 
stated. It is drawn as the practical conclusion from the un- 
doubted fact of the interdependence of the world and the 
"indivisibility of peace." The essence of the principle may be 
defined as follows: Given a world of independent sovereign 
States, the only conditions under which these could conceiv- 
ably keep the peace among themselves, short of accepting fed- 
eration or any common sovereignty, would be by their uniting 
to maintain and carry out a pledge of combined action by 
the entire force of the remainder against any State having re- 
course to war, with the consequence that the certainty of such 
overwhelming opposition would in practice restrain any State 
from having recourse to war, or, in the extreme event of the 
attempt being made, would speedily bring it to an end. 

Stated thus abstractly, the doctrine of collective security has 
the degree of conclusiveness of a mathematical proposition; 
and, in the abstract, none would venture to quarrel with it 
save those who hold the alternative Fascist doctrine of the 
"localisation of war," that is, who regard war as inevitable and 
conceive it to be the highest duty of statesmanship to "local- 
ise" its outbreaks. For such critics the doctrine of collective 
security appears as the "universalisation of war." 


"The new theory of collective security was simply a 
dangerously misleading name for a military alliance, the 
effect of which would be to turn every local dispute into 
a world war." 

(LORD LOTHIAN, lecture at Lincoln's Inn, 

The Times, May sgth, 1935) 

Against such critics, representing in fact the Fascist and pro- 
Fascist schools of thought, all supporters of international 
peace would with justice defend the line of collective security 
as representing in comparison the line of the fight for peace. 

But when we come to apply this abstract principle of 
collective security to the realities of imperialism, we come to 
more complex questions. For we then have to take into 
account the real Power-relations of imperialism, which in- 
evitably deflect and distort for their own purposes the principle 
of collective security; and it is this fact which is sophistically 
exploited by the Fascist advocates in order to discredit the 
whole principle of collective security and thus smooth their 
path to war. 

In the first place, no universal combination of imperialist 
Powers can in practice be counted on. The experience of the 
League of Nations and the basic split by the isolationist line 
of the United States, reflecting the dominant antagonisms 
of imperialism, have illustrated this, as also the subsequent 
passing out of the Powers most actively driving to war. The 
ideal of the union of all the rest against the single violator 
of peace is in conflict with the contradictory special interests 
and relations of the imperialist Powers, and in consequence 
suffers repeated shipwreck in the real world. The experience 
of the League of Nations has shown that, where the Great 
Powers are in agreement, in dealing with the dispute or 
aggression of some smaller country or countries (as in the 
Greek-Bulgarian conflict of 1925), there collective action to 
restore peace can be rapid and effective. But where the Great 
Powers are in disagreement, or the action of one of their own 
number is in question, there at once the path of collective 
action is heavily paralysed, because the transgressing Power 

WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

can always count on open or secret support from among 
the other Powers. When Japan went to war in open violation 
of the Covenant in 1931, Britain gave diplomatic support to 
Japan and paralysed any action. When Italy went to war in 
violation of the Covenant in 1935, France was diplomatically 
tied to Italy and impeded action, while both Britain and 
France were committed by previous partition agreements to 
Italy and sought repeatedly to achieve a "settlement" by 
awarding spoils to the aggressor at the expense of the victim of 
aggression. When Germany repeatedly violated international 
agreements in 1935 and 1936, Britain gave diplomatic support 
to Germany and broke the common front, as in the Anglo- 
German Naval Agreement of June 1935, immediately after the 
formal joint condemnation of German unilateral repudiation 
of treaties by re-arming, and again in the crisis over the re- 
pudiation of the Locarno Pact and the re-militarisation of the 
Rhineland in 1936. 

These realities of imperialist relations have to be taken into 
account in estimating the possibilities of the line of collective 
security as a line of prevention of war. This does not mean 
that the line of collective security is therefore to be rejected as 
valueless. But it does mean that the line of collective security, 
the realisation of which is dependent on the policies of im- 
perialist Governments, can never be a substitute for the inde- 
pendent struggle of the masses of the peoples themselves in 
all countries for peace and against the policies of their Gov- 
ernments driving to war. In the existing situation the only 
Power which is genuinely interested in the line of collective 
security as a universal line is the Soviet Union. In all other 
States, so long as power remains in the hands of capitalism, 
the policy pursued will depend on the play of forces both be- 
tween the different sections of capitalism and also on the re- 
lation of forces between capitalism and the mass movement 
(the rdle of the people's front in France in finally, after pro- 
longed struggle, overcoming the reactionary opposition to the 
ratification of the Franco-Soviet Pact, and in enforcing so far 
its maintenance, illustrates this process). The central factor in 
the struggle for peace is the independent mass struggle, led by 


the working class, in unity with the peace policy of the Soviet 
Union. The strength o this factor will in practice also deter- 
mine the degree of realisation of the line of collective security. 

Thus a new stage is reached in which the line of the fight 
for peace and for collective security becomes, not the abstract 
preaching of a juridical ideal as a panacea, which is constantly 
ignored and violated by an unfeeling world, but the active 
organisation and struggle of the mass forces in all countries, 
in unity with the Soviet Union, against war and for peace, 
utilising the diplomatic machinery of collective security only 
as an auxiliary weapon to the basic weapons of mass struggle 
(united international working-class action, stopping of sup- 
plies to the Fascist war-makers, etc*). But this is a new and 
deeper realist conception of collective security. 

The basic failing of all the abstract Liberal idealist juridical 
presentations of collective security as the panacea against war, 
is that they build their conception on a completely abstract 
legal picture of a world of equal sovereign States, and not on 
the real picture of the imperialist world. The parallel is often 
drawn between the community of States and a community of 
individuals, as if the proposal to prevent war between States 
by the system of collective security were analogous to the meth- 
ods of maintaining "law and order" among individual citizens 
within a State. Thus in advocating "an ordered society of na- 
tions" by a system of "collective guarantee and pooled secur- 
ity" L. S. Woolf writes: 

**Within the State we have learned by experience that 
civilised life is not possible unless human nature submits to 
the restraints of law and order. In the course of a few hun- 
dred years we have completely altered human behaviour, 
and the civilised man lives in peace with his next-door 
neighbour, or if he quarrels with him or disagrees with him, 
does not claim to be judge in his own case or club his neigh- 
bour over the head or stick a knife into his back or shoot 
him; he either settles his dispute by compromise or arbitra- 
tion or takes it to the courts for decision of a judge accord- 
ing to rules of law. And in order to make it quite certain 

164 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

that he shall behave in this way, he and his fellow-citizens 
maintain a police force which will prevent him 'taking the 
law into his own hands.' But in international relations, in 
the relations between States, we adopt an entirely opposite 
method. There we maintain a system of anarchy. . . . The 
problem of preventing war is the problem of substituting a 
different system, a system of international law and order, for 
this anarchy." 

(L. s. WOOLF, Introduction to The Intelligent Man's 

Way to Prevent War, 1933, P- 13 

The parallel breaks down, not only because the "law and 
order" within a modern State is the reflection of an absolute 
sovereign power for which no counterpart is proposed in the 
system of separate States organised on the basis of "collective 
guarantee and pooled security," but also because the relations 
between States are not comparable to the relations between in- 
dividuals. The abstract approach leaves out of account the in- 
equality of strength and power of States, an inequality which 
reaches its extreme point in the conditions of imperialism. If 
the sixty or so nominally sovereign States were all more or less 
equal homogeneous units, it is conceivable that the common 
interest of the majority in any given case could be counted on 
to override any attempted violence of one or a few. But in fact 
the overwhelming balance of force rests with the Great Pow- 
ers, and there are only six imperialist Powers and one Socialist 
Power. In so small a grouping the question of any "collective" 
organisation of order takes on a far more doubtful and pre- 
carious character. If a single imperialist Power breaks loose, 
and draws another into alliance, the whole balance is tipped 
over, and the fight for collective order is in danger of turning 
into a fight of rival alliances. In other words, in dealing with 
the imperialist Powers, who constitute the real problem of 
world politics, we are dealing, not with an imaginary com- 
munity of simple citizens whose problem is to establish the 
rudiments of law and order among themselves, but rather 
with a set of double-crossing gangster kings, engaged in a cease- 
less internecine conflict over their respective territories and 


spoils. To these the ideal proposals of "collective security" are 
of very doubtful relevance or interest save as a new trick in 
the game to score a point against a rival. 

Hence we need to beware of all abstract legalist illusions on 
the question of collective security. We need to beware of the 
possibility that in a particular case the attempt may be made 
to turn the slogan of collective security into its opposite and 
make it the cover for imperialist conflicts. This is especially 
important because the principle of collective security is com- 
monly identified with the Covenant of the League of Nations. 
In general, these may be expected to march together in the im- 
mediate future; since, so long as the Soviet Union is a Perman- 
ent Member of the Council, no unanimous Council decision 
of a reactionary imperialist character could be taken, which 
could then be presented for enforcement in the name of "col- 
lective security" the main danger inherent in the Covenant 
before the Soviet Union was a member. This danger still exists 
in the case of a dispute affecting the Soviet Union; since unan- 
imity on the Council apart from the parties involved in a 
dispute is sufficient to secure enforcement of any measures de- 
cided, and this power could rest in the hands of the imperial- 
ist States on the Council, if they combined in a bloc to utilize 
the machinery unscrupulously, and in flagrant opposition to 
the facts of the case and the peaceful policy of the Soviet 
Union, against the Soviet Union. The contingency is, how- 
ever, remote at present, especially so long as the Franco-Soviet 
Pact is valid. But the Covenant still contains a number of 
vicious and reactionary imperialist elements, such as Article 
22 on Mandates; by Article 15 it still leaves the way open for 
"private war"; the operation of the crucial articles for collec- 
tive security, Articles 10, 15 and 16, is still extremely ambigu- 
ous, uncertain and hedged with legal snares (when China 
appealed under Article 10 against the violation of its terri- 
torial integrity, it was decided that the rule of unanimity 
required the assent of the violator, Japan, to any decision; the 
definite declaration of Article 16 that, in the event of any 
member State resorting to war, "it shall ip so facto be deemed 
to have committed an act of war against all other members of 

i66 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

the League, which hereby undertakes immediately to subject 
it to the severance of all trade or financial relations," has al- 
ready been destroyed and robbed of its original meaning by 
the application of only partial and gradual economic sanctions 
against Italy). The rule of unanimity makes it possible for any 
imperialist or Fascist State on the Council, if not directly a 
party to a given dispute, to paralyse any effective decision for 
action and thus destroy the principle of collective security at 
the very moment when it is needed (it is for this contingency 
that the Franco-Soviet Pact makes special provision). 

In consequence of all this, it is impossible to place any 
simple, legalist confidence in the working of the Covenant of 
the League of Nations as the automatic expression of the prin- 
ciple of collective security. It is necessary to beware of the 
snares of imperialist governmental pacifism which seeks to 
paralyse the mass struggle for peace by preaching confidence 
in the League of Nations. The forces of the struggle for peace 
cannot afford to place a blank cheque in the hands of any im- 
perialist machinery, lest they become the pawns of imperial- 
ism, but require to determine independently at each point the 
line of the fight for collective security and for peace. 

This independence applies with particular importance to 
the working-class movement in each country, the representa- 
tive of the future World order. The independent working-class 
struggle and the international united working-class front is 
the pivot of the struggle for peace. The world forces of the 
struggle for peace, in unity with the Soviet Union, will need 
to judge their line in each particular case and situation con- 
cretely according to the aims of the struggle for peace and 
against the war-makers. 

In the second place, it is necessary to remember that the 
principle of collective security can be no permanent solution 
for the problem of the prevention of war. The principle of 
collective security operates to prevent recourse to war for the 
solution of disputes between States and to compel recourse to 
pacific means. What are the pacific means? For all minor is- 
sues, for what are called "justiciable" issues, questions of fact 
or of the interpretation of treaties, plentiful means exist of an 


arbitral or judicial character, such as the World Court of In- 
ternational Justice established under the Covenant (but not 
participated in by the United States) or the provisions tinder 
the Arbitration Treaties existing between many countries. But 
for the major issues of conflict of imperialism, for the revision 
of treaties against the will of one set of signatories, for changes 
of frontiers, claims to territory, colonial possessions or spheres 
of influence, in short, for the issues of the re-division of the 
world, there are in the final resort no pacific means of settle- 
ment in a world of sovereign imperialist Powers; for these 
issues are in reality reflections of the relations of power, and 
not of any abstract law or "justice" or "equity" (as if one divi- 
sion of colonies could be more "just" than another, when all 
alike are founded on violent domination), and relations of 
power can only be finally tested by war. No arbitral court can 
compel a sovereign State to surrender territory or revise a 
treaty against its will. Article 19 of the Covenant empowers 
the Assembly of the League of Nations to "advise reconsidera- 
tion of treaties which have become inapplicable." Only in 
three cases has this article been invoked, by Bolivia, Peru and 
China; in all three cases the issue was left untouched. If the 
Power in possession refuses change, and the challenging State 
is prevented from using the weapon or threat of war to compel 
change, there is no means of compelling change in the absence 
of a sovereign world authority. 

This line of argument is utilised by Fascism in order to at- 
tack the whole principle of collective security as the "perpetu- 
ation of the status quo.*' On this ground Fascism condemns 
collective security and proclaims the right of war as the neces- 
sary and inevitable weapon of change. It is obvious that this 
argument of Fascism can only have validity for those who 
accept the imperialist premise of the "right" of the expanding 
imperialist Powers to obtain a major share of the domination 
of the world. It is perfectly true that the principle of collective 
security does tend in practice to maintain the status quo, 
which is itself only the outcome of previous wars and victor 
treaties, i.e. to maintain a far from ideal state of affairs. The 
Fascist "remedy" of war, however, would be worse than the 

168 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

disease. The positive value of collective security is not as a 
solution of the problems of imperialism, which from its nature 
it cannot attempt, but as a temporary method within the con- 
ditions of imperialism to delay the outbreak of war. The solu- 
tion of the problems arising from the existing division of the 
world cannot be reached within imperialism; and the attempt 
to discover such a solution on the part of would-be supporters 
of peace only assists the war offensive. This question is further 
discussed in the next chapter. 

The difficulty in reality arises from regarding collective se- 
curity as a possible permanent system of world organisation, 
which it could never be (i.e. from regarding the existing sys- 
tem of capitalist States as eternal), instead of as a temporary 
device against an immediate menace of war, pending the 
transition to a new world order. If the attempt were made to 
maintain the system of collective security, which in practice 
tends to hold fixed the existing relations of imperialism, as a 
permanent system of world organisation, then undoubtedly 
sooner or later the dynamic forces of expansion within im- 
perialism would burst against it and overthrow it if imperial- 
ism has not itself been overthrown before that point is 
reached. Collective security is no permanent solution of the 
problem of war, but at the best a temporary stopgap against 
the immediate menace of war. 

Does this mean that the Fascist conclusion in favour of war 
as the supposedly historically necessary means to realise the 
new division of the world is justified? On the contrary. For 
the method of war, even in the far from certain event of it 
proving successful for the challenging Powers and leading to 
a new division, leads in turn by the same logic only to re- 
newed battle once again for re-division. There is no solution 
along this road. Neither the artificial stabilisation of collective 
security, if conceived as a permanent system, nor the destruc- 
tive path of Fascist war, can offer any solution for the world 
problems which give rise to war, because the conditions of im- 
perialism exclude any solution. The final solution lies outside 
the conditions of imperialism, through unified world socialist 
organisation, alongside complete national liberation (as ex- 


amplified on a regional scale in the Soviet Union), thus elim- 
inating the questions of the division of the world, of colonies, 
of frontiers as expressions of power-groupings, of monopolies 
of raw materials, etc. Towards this final solution the mass 
struggle, led by the working class, against imperialism and 
against imperialist war, leads the way. The fight for collective 
security is only a temporary weapon in this struggle. 

Chapter VI 


"Is the ownership of the world to be stereotyped by perpetual 
tenure in the hands of those who possess the different territories 
to-day? . . . The world continues to offer glittering prizes to 
those who have stout arms and sharp words, and it is therefore 
extremely improbable that the experience of future nations 
will differ in any material respect from that which has happened 

since the twilight of the human race" 
LORD BIRKENHEAD, Rectorial Address to Glasgow University, 

November 7th, 1923 

OINCE THE CLOSE of the first world war for the re-division of 
the world, the post-war period has seen the continuous ad- 
vance of imperialism, by its inner law of motion, to renewed 
battle for the new division of the world. 

To-day that advance has become a headlong race to war. 
All the States are arming for the battle on a scale that leaves 
1914 in the shade. Japan and Italy have already taken the 
plunge and are engaged in wars of conquest. The third main 
driving force to war, Nazi Germany, is organising its entire 
strength for the future struggle. France is increasing its mili- 
tary forces. Britain is engaged on a new rearmament pro- 
gramme. The United States is pressing forward military, naval 
and air preparedness. The Soviet Union, which alone of the 
Powers holds no colonies or subject territories, and has no ter- 
ritorial ambitions, but is surrounded by the open aggressive 
aims of expansion of Nazi Germany and Japan on either side, 
is compelled to increase its armaments for defence. 



For what are the imperialist Powers arming? For what are 
they already, in the case of Italy and Japan to-day, sending 
their sons to the slaughter? For "defence"? The open propa- 
ganda of the war-making Powers denies it and proclaims with- 
out concealment the aim as the need for "expansion." The 
logic of the pacifists riddles the paradox of such a simultan- 
eous arming for "defence/' But the logic of pacifism does not 
affect the real logic of imperialism. The imperialist Powers 
are arming for the battle for the new division of the world. 


After a long period of illusions that the settlement at the 
close of the last war had established a final settlement for a 
war-weary world, to-day the issue of the new division of the 
world has forced its way to the front of general consciousness 
and become a burning issue of discussion. On all sides the "in- 
equality" of the existing division of wealth, material resources 
and colonies between the Powers is discussed, and proposals 
are put forward, in a spirit of enlightened statesmanship, for 
considering a possible "re-distribution" of colonies or of col- 
onial "mandates" or of supplies of raw materials. Hitler, Mus- 
solini and General Araki on one side of the frontier, and the 
British Foreign Secretary, the Archbishop of York and Mr. 
Lansbury on the other, join in the chorus. In the existing "in- 
equality" of division is found the true cause of world conflicts 
and of the drive to war, and the solution is sought in projects 
for a peaceful "revision" and "re-distribution." 

Thus is developed the current fashionable theory of im- 
perialist war, which is used in fact to justify and rationalise 
the drive to war, the theory of the "Haves" and the "Have- 
Nots." It should, perhaps, be explained to unsophisticated 
readers that in this current bourgeois theory the "Haves" and 
the "Have-Nots" are not of course the bourgeoisie and the 
proletariat; the "Have-Nots" are the German, Italian and 
Japanese millionaires. 

This theory contains a dangerous half-truth, and conceals 
the real dynamic of imperialism as a whole. It is dangerous 

172 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

and misleading in practice, as any substitute for an adequate 

theory o imperialism, for four main reasons. 

First, because it serves in practice as the apologetic for the 
Fascist drive to war, concealing the real class-issues underlying 
the difficulties and distress in the Fascist countries, and the 
drive to expansion, and diverting attention solely to supposed 
external causes. 

Second, because it presents the most highly armed and pre- 
datory modern imperialist systems, British and American im- 
perialism, as innocent peace-seeking forces in the world. 

Third, because it raises reformist illusions of a peaceful so- 
lution of imperialist antagonisms by some form of re-distribu- 
tion of colonies, internationalising of access to raw materials, 

Fourth, because the whole theory is built on the vicious im- 
perialist assumption of the necessity and permanence of the 
subjection and exploitation of the colonial peoples, and finds 
the "injustice" and source of conflict only in die non-posses- 
sion of colonies by certain Powers, not in the colonial system 

It will therefore be worth while to examine a little more 
fully this theory, in relation to the real character of the im- 
perialist drive for expansion and for the new division of the 
world, before coming to a study of the main arenas of conflict 
and the main forces at present driving to war. 

The theory of the "Haves" and the "Have-Nots," or of the 
"satisfied" and "unsatisfied" Powers, is in itself no new one, 
and indeed, stated thus abstractly, has been the permanent 
commonplace of diplomacy. Bismarck long ago made the dis- 
tinction between "satiated" and "unsatiated" States. A typical 
modern statement may be taken from the American work, 
The Great Powers in World Politics, by F. H. Simonds and 
Brooks Emeny (New York, 1935), which contains an invalu- 
able study of the relative resources of the leading Powers: 

"Among the various Great Powers there exists a primary 
distinction which exercises a decisive influence in determin- 
ing the character of their foreign policies. . . . The Great 


Powers are divided into those who possess and those who 
seek to possess. Accordingly, the controlling purpose of the 
former must be to defend advantages already acquired, and 
of the latter to acquire similar advantages. The national 
policies of the first group will therefore be static, and those 
of the second group dynamic. 

"Whether the policy of a State is static or dynamic will 
necessarily depend upon its physical circumstances from 
which are derived the basic factors of that policy, the geo- 
graphic, the economic, and the demographic. In a word, the 
key to the policy of a State must be sought in the position 
of its land, the extent and nature of its material resources, 
and the economic and ethnic circumstances of its people, 

"To pursue its national policies successfully, a dynamic 
Power has no other choice but an appeal to force. To build 
a bridge between the static and dynamic Powers and thus 
to establish a condition of actual peace, it would be neces- 
sary to bring about some compromise between the rights of 
the former and the claims of the latter. ... In the absence 
of any such compromise, partnership between the static and 
dynamic Powers would obviously amount to a combination 
of the Haves and the Have-Nots which would keep the for- 
mer for ever rich and the latter eternally poor. Such a bar- 
gain being clearly out of question, the only alternative is 
an alliance of the Haves to impose the status quo upon the 
Have-Nots permanently by means of their superior strength. 
But here again the partnership of the Haves would be pos- 
sible only on the basis of parity. . . . 

"Actually it is not because people are wise or stupid, edu- 
cated or illiterate, good or bad, that their national policies 
are static or dynamic. Nor is it because their skins are white 
or yellow, or their language English, French, German or 
Italian. Even forms of government whether democratic, 
Fascist or Communist, have little to do with the question, 
although they may dictate the spirit in which national pol- 
icies are pursued. . . . 

"What counts is whether peoples live on islands or con- 
tinents; whether their countries are situated in Europe, Asia 

174 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

or America; whether they have natural resources to supply 
their industry and food supplies to feed their populations/' 

A similar line can be traced in all current political expres- 
sion. In the period of sharpened imperialist battle for the pos- 
session of the world, the old divine, semi-divine, abstractly 
political or Liberal idealist theories of history and policy 
(which still dominated the ideology accompanying the war of 
1914) are flung overboard as obviously untenable, and replaced 
by a crude physical economic-geographical materialism, which 
still conceals the real dynamic of class-forces and property re- 
lations underlying imperialism, and endeavours to present im- 
perialism as an expression of eternal "natural" laws. This 
theory in turn leads to full sympathy for the Fascist expan- 
sionist war drive- Thus we find Lord Esher declaring in the 
House of Lords on May ist, 1935: 

"Germany and Japan were expanding and dynamic na- 
tions, very much the same as England had been for a hun- 
dred years, and we ought thoroughly to understand their 
point of view. The failure of the League, or the Great Pow- 
ers in the League, to deal with those expanding and dynamic 
nations had forced them out of the League. The result was 
that they had got the satiated Powers in the League and the 
hungry Powers outside, so that the League became really 
not a League at all, but an alliance of those nations who 
were satisfied with their position against those nations who 
were not satisfied with their position. Our interest was to 
belong to a genuine League and not to an alliance." 

The theory spreads its poison to the upper circles of the 
Labour movement. Thus at the time of the Japanese aggres- 
sion on Manchuria and bombardment of Shanghai we find a 
former Labour Government Minister, H. B. Lees-Smith, ex- 
pressing his sympathy for Japan (in a speech at Welling- 
borough on March igth, 1932): 


"Japan had an undoubted case against the rest of the 
world, which we must now admit. She could not support 
her population without foreign trade, which would bring 
her the food and raw materials without which she could not 
live. How was Japan to live? She was desperate. If we were 
in her position we should not die quietly, but we should 
undoubtedly burst out somewhere, as she had done in Man- 
churia and Shanghai.*' 

Similarly, Dr. Salter, seconding the Labour motion for an in- 
ternational conference on "access to raw materials and to mar- 
kets/' quoted Sir Thomas Holland's well-known analysis of 
the distribution of twenty-five indispensable primary commod- 
ities, of which the British Empire had adequate supplies of 
eighteen and none of only five, whereas Japan had none of 
seventeen, Germany had none of nineteen and Italy had none 
of twenty-one (he forgot to add that France also had none of 
nineteen), and continued: 

"If those facts were even approximately correct it meant 
that there was a group of nations which might legitimately 
describe themselves as the 'Have-Nots' of the world. It could 
not be expected in these times that virile, enterprising and 
spirited nations like those were likely to sit down quietly 
and accept the situation, to be restricted in self-develop- 
ment, and to be deprived of the actual necessaries of modern 
civilised life, while many of their people were actually semi- 

It will be seen that this Labour representative, in his eagerness 
for justice for such "virile, enterprising and spirited nations" 
as Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Fascist-militarist Japan, 
has transposed the conception of "Have-Nots" from the dis- 
possessed workers of all imperialist countries, and not least of 
the British Empire ("many actually semi-starving"), whom it 
was his duty to represent, to the rich and powerful imperialist 
groups of the Fascist war-making States, whose spokesman this 
ultra-pacifist has allowed himself to become. 

176 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

An attempt to correct this too crude formulation of "Haves" 
and "Have-Nots" into a vaguer formulation of "satisfied" and 
"dissatisfied" Powers was made by Dr. G. P. Gooch in an ad- 
dress to the Historical Association in London on January 4th, 
1936, on "British Foreign Policy Since the War": 

"This country came out of the war absolutely satisfied 
with what it had got. After the conquest of the Sudan in 
1898 and of the Boer Republics in 1902 we said, and meant, 
that we were satiated, in the sense that we had everything 
we wanted in the world. That was still truer in 1918 when 
we came out of the war with an enormous addition of col- 
onial possessions." 

There is obviously a hitch in the theory here. Britain is pre- 
sented as "satiated" in 1902, only to reappear as with sufficient 
appetite to absorb "an enormous addition of colonial posses- 
sions" in 1918, and is then presented anew as "absolutely satis- 
fied" (no doubt until the next "enormous addition of colonial 
possessions"). Innocent of the contradiction, Dr. Gooch pro- 
ceeds with his classification: 

"The main cause of all the trouble since the war and of 
all the trouble in the world to-day was the sharp antagonism 
between the satisfied and the dissatisfied Powers." 

He did not like the common phrase, "the Haves and the 
Have-Nots." Germany was a "Have-Not" for the time being, 
but could Japan be properly described as a "Have-Not"? The 
phrase, "the Haves and the Have-Nots" was much too populai 
to be correct, let alone scientific It was much simpler and more 
correct to speak of the satisfied and dissatisfied Powers. 

"The satisfied Powers were Britain, France, the United 
States and Russia. On the other side were the three dissatis 
fied Powers Japan, Italy and Germany. The satisfied Pow 
ers naturally desired the maintenance of the status quo 01 
its minimum disturbance; and the dissatisfied Powers in 
evitably desired, if not indeed to restore the old status quo 
at any rate to modify the new status quo to their own ad 


vantage, by diplomacy or perhaps by war. The main object 
of British foreign policy since the war had been the main- 
tenance of peace, not merely because we loved peace and 
hated war, but also because we were utterly and absolutely 
satisfied with our possessions and our position in the world." 

It will be seen from these and similar quotations, which 
could be paralleled at the present day from all sides and from 
widely differing schools of thought, that the conception of the 
struggle for the new division of the world is to-day openly 
recognised in all current expression as the pivot of world pol- 
itics. But while the immediate superficial facts thus compel 
recognition, and in particular the openly aggressive expan- 
sionist rdle of Japan, Italy and Germany forces itself on the 
attention of all as the key problem, the situation is still com- 
monly presented in such a way as to conceal the real driving 
forces of imperialism and of imperialist contradictions, and in 
consequence to give rise to illusory conceptions of the path of 

The imperialist drive to expansion is presented as the reflec- 
tion of natural disabilities, lack of space, land, resources, raw 
materials, etc., resulting in "over-population" and "semi-star- 
vation" of the inhabitants of the country in question, and 
leading them to "burst out somewhere" (in Mr. Lees-Smith's 
phrase). These natural and physical disabilities, resulting from 
the existing division of the world, are regarded as the source 
of the drive to expansion and to war on the part of the "Have- 
Not" Powers, as the permanent factors governing the foreign 
policy of every State, whatever its regime, and as the conse- 
quent subject-matter of the real problems of world politics. 

It does not require prolonged examination to see that this 
approach is not only inadequate and one-sided, owing to the 
attempt to isolate the physical economic factors from the his- 
torical structure of productive relations and the actual class- 
system of the given country, but also in consequence fails 
to correspond to the plain facts of world politics. For, curi- 
ously enough, this reasoning is always applied only to the 
Great Powers which can make their voices heard and use mili- 

178 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tary means to challenge the existing division and enforce their 
claims to such resources as they lack, and never to the small 
countries, whose lack of the same resources may be very much 
greater, but which have to manage as best they can. If lack of 
the twenty-five indispensable primary commodities were the 
decisive cause of revisionist and expansionist policies, then the 
small States would be the leading revisionist and expansionist 
States, instead of being, as they are at present, the most faith- 
ful pillars of collective security in the capitalist world. Simi- 
larly, if relative "over-population" in the sense of extreme 
density of the population to the arable area and extreme low 
standards of living were the natural cause of the drive to ex- 
pansion, then India, China and Java would be the great ex- 
pansionist Powers of the world. It follows that this theory is 
not, as it falsely presents itself, a theory of States and peoples 
in general and their economic needs, but solely a theory of im- 
perialist Powers and their needs on the basis of their role as 
imperialist Powers. 

In other words, the "necessity of expansion," the "inevitable 
drive to expansion" is relative to the existing social order in 
the State in question. This is most sharply brought out by the 
contrast between the expansionist policy of Tsarist Russia, an 
imperialist Power, and the peace policy of the Soviet Union, 
a socialist Power, although the Soviet Union occupies a more 
restricted geographical area than Tsarist Russia did. Owing 
to its superior social system, the Soviet Union is able to de- 
velop its area with immeasurably greater efficiency than Tsar- 
ist Russia, and to ensure continuously rising standards of life 
for its inhabitants without need of expansionist policies. The 
old expansionist policies of Tsarist Russia, the drive for Con- 
stantinople, which was maintained also under Miliukov and 
under Kerensky right up to the Bolshevik Revolution, used to 
be explained by the theorists of the pseudo-scientific school of 
imperialism as the "inevitable" expression of Russia's "geo- 
graphical" need of ice-free access to the sea. What has happen- 
ed to that theory to-day? To-day the same theorists coolly 
explain the peace policy of the Soviet Union by declaring that 


"Russia" (with a more restricted area than the old Tsarist 
Empire) obviously belongs to the "satisfied" Powers. Thus on 
the night of November 7th, 1917, in the transition from Ker- 
ensky to the Soviet regime, Russia changed from a "dissatis- 
fied" to a "satisfied" Power, and yet "forms of government, 
whether democratic, Fascist or Communist, have little to do 
with the question" (Simonds and Emeny in the quotation al- 
ready given above). A brilliant theory! To add to the con- 
fusion, it may be noted that a few years ago, when the Soviet 
Union, following the line of Rapallo, gave diplomatic support 
to democratic-republican Germany against the Versailles dom- 
ination, and was in consequence commonly counted in the 
"revisionist" bloc with Germany and Italy (see, for example, 
De Balla, The New Balance of Power in Europe, 1932), this 
was explained by these same theorists on the grounds that the 
Soviet Union was a "dissatisfied" Power in opposition to the 
status quo ("Since the Entente victory and the peace settle- 
ments of 1919, the new victors have become status quo States, 
and the vanquished are now 'revisionists/ i.e. revancharde, in 
their policies; the coalition of France, Belgium, Poland and 
the Little Entente confronts a still inchoate coalition of Ger- 
many, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria, with the U.S.S.R, and 
Italy lending occasional support to the revisionist group" 
Schuman, International Politics, 1933, p. 510). To-day, when 
in the face of the Fascist war offensive of Germany, Japan and 
Italy, the Soviet Union gives support to the line of collective 
security against the war offensive, this is explained on the 
grounds that the Soviet Union is a "satisfied" Power. It is un- 
necessary to follow further the confusions and self-contradic- 
tions of these theories of the apologists of imperialism. 

The foreign policy of a given State is a junction of its inner 
system of class-relations, and not vice versa. The existing con- 
flict between the imperialist Powers in possession and the 
"dynamic" or challenging imperialist Powers cannot be under- 
stood except in relation to the dynamic of imperialism as a 
whole and its drive for expansion, which leads to the present 
insoluble problems and contradictions of inter-imperialist re- 

180 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

lations. The foreign policies and the wars of the capitalist 
States can be traced through three main stages, corresponding 
to the stages of capitalist development. 

First, the epoch of mercantile capitalism, when the early 
capitalist forms were still breaking through the bonds of 
feudalism, when capitalist trading preceded the capitalist or- 
ganisation of production, and the home market was still unde- 
veloped; the wars of this period were mainly wars to overthrow 
the old feudal, local barriers and establish centralised States, 
or wars of colonial conquest, for trade and plunder, laying the 
foundations of early capitalist accumulation. 

Second, the epoch of industrial capitalism, when the col- 
onies were regarded as of doubtful practical value; capitalist 
production was organised, the home market was developed, 
and the mass production of cheap goods broke down all bar- 
riers; the wars of this period were in the main wars to estab- 
lish the modern nation-States or areas of the home market, or 
exceptional colonial wars to break down special barriers to 
the free entry of goods, as in the British Opium Wars on 

Third, the epoch of imperialism or monopoly-capitalism, 
when the colonial question becomes the central question of 
foreign politics and war, since each monopolist grouping 
strives to secure exclusive domination of the maximum area 
of exploitation, for the control of raw materials and markets, 
and for the export of capital. The continuous accumulation 
of capital seeking outlet, and expansion of productive power, 
and the limitations of consumption within the conditions of 
capitalist class-relations, with the consequent recurrent men- 
ace of depression and a falling rate of profit, lead to a contin- 
uous drive to expansion for new areas to open up and exploit, 
both as a market for the export of capital and for the accom- 
panying export of goods, mainly production goods, railways, 
etc., and to a lesser extent consumption goods, and drawing 
in return raw materials extracted from the native population 
which is compelled by all manner of coercive means of the 
State power to labour for starvation prices. This whole process 
leads to the realisation of imperialist "super-profits" or a high- 


er rate of profit on the basis of colonial exploitation, and the 
corresponding development of the whole social structure of 
the metropolitan country on this basis. The accelerating ad- 
vance of this process of expansion leads to the rapid division 
of the whole available world between the handful of imperial- 
ist Powers. Then, in the era of fully developed imperialism, be- 
gins the battle for the re-division of the world between the ris- 
ing monopolist groups whose possessions do not correspond to 
their potential rate of expansion, and the monopolist groups 
already in possession of the maximum areas and subject popu- 
lations. This struggle constitutes the theme of modern im- 
perialist war, of which the first round began in 1914, and the 
second round threatens to-day. 

This ceaseless and perpetually renewed struggle develops 
continuously out of the conditions of imperialism. The par- 
ticular expression of this conflict at any given stage, the. 
struggle between the so-called "satisfied" and "dissatisfied" 
imperialist Powers, between the so-called "Have" and "Have- 
No? 9 Powers, is only the reflection of the law of the inequality 
of capitalist development, and continuously arises anew out 
of each new "solution." The Liberal pacifist theories of a 
peaceful solution of this struggle within the conditions of im- 
perialism by a re-distribution of colonies, international control 
of colonies, freedom of access to raw materials, etc, arise from 
a failure to understand the workings of imperialism, and rep 
resent in the end the basically false assumption of the possi- 
bility of a static relation of forces between rival monopolist 
groupings of capital, developing at different rates, with differ- 
ent degrees of development of the productive forces, etc. In 
particular, they fail to understand the purpose of the colonial 
policy of imperialism, and break down because they endeav- 
our to apply the conceptions of industrial capitalism, of free- 
dom of buying and selling, to the conditions of imperialism 
or monopoly-capitalism, whose essential character is the striv- 
ing for exclusive domination of a given area of exploitation. 
This question it will be necessary to examine further in the 
next section. 

What of the imperialist Powers in possession who find them- 

i8s WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

selves confronted with the attack of the challenging Powers? 
Are they to be regarded as "satiated" and therefore basically 
and permanently "pacific" Powers? This is the theory of the 
apologists of British imperialism. 1 But this theory fails to 
take into account that no imperialism is ever "satiated"; the 
drive to expansion is ceaseless, if the possibilities are present. 
The simplest proof of this is the r61e of British imperialism 
before and after 1914. The same argument that is to-day pre- 
sented that British imperialism is "satiated" and therefore 
pacific was already presented with no less show of justification 
before 1914, We may compare the statement of Dr. Gooch in 
the quotation already given above that in the decade before 
1914 "we were satiated, in the sense that we had everything 
we wanted in the world." This did not prevent British im- 
perialism from busily scheming during that decade to extend its 
influence in Persia and the Middle East, conducting military 
operations in Somaliland and Tibet, pressing forward policies 
of partition and joint spoliation in China, preparing with ex- 
treme diplomatic skill the war against German imperialism, 
and crowning its victory in that war by absorbing another two 
million square miles of territory. A "satiated" imperialism is 
thus fully capable of carrying forward further expansion and 

1 This theory of the "pacific" r61e of British imperialism has also spread 
its poison in the upper strata of the Labour movement. Thus we find in 
the Labour College publication Why War?: 

"The difference between the 'peace group* of nations and the 'war 
group' is the difference between satisfied and unsatisfied countries. 
France and Britain are well provided with colonies and could not gain 
much by a war. ... So, naturally, therefore, Britain is more honestly 
In favour of disarmament than other countries" (p. 36). 
Britain's **honest M support of disarmament in contrast to "other coun- 
tries" was no doubt exemplified in the British rejection of all the Soviet 
Union's disarmament proposals, and in Lord Londonderry's famous boast 
of his successful fight to prevent the abolition of air-bombing. This sup- 
posedly "Labour" view, issued with the official imprint of die National 
Council of Labour Colleges, is more favourable to British imperialism 
than the view of one of the members of the British Delegation to the 
Disarmament Conference, Mrs. Corbett Ashby (in the Manchester Guar- 
dian, March i2th, 1935): 

"It is my considered opinion that the British Government carries the 
main responsibility for having wrecked the Disarmament Conference." 


organising new war. The only difference in the position of 
British imperialism, representing the Powers in possession, is 
that its problems of defending its already enormous posses- 
sions are more complicated, that any new war is therefore 
more hazardous for it and only to be undertaken with extreme 
care and preparation under conditions guaranteeing victory, 
failing which it will tip the balance for peace in a given situ- 
ation, and that the type of war it is likely to organise, apart 
from minor colonial wars, will rather be a war of coalition to 
strike down a rising rival or menace before that menace is too 
strong. This is the maximum measure of the "pacific" r61e of 
British imperialism. But an old tiger in danger of losing its 
supremacy, though walking warily, may be aU the more dan- 
gerous in the moment of launching battle. This German im- 
perialism learned in 1914. The lesson may be learnt anew in 
a fresh context in the future, and may prove startling to those 
innocents who have swallowed the illusion of the tiger turned 
pacifist. 1 


One of the most ominous signs of the near approach of re- 
newed imperialist battle for the re-division of the world is the 
appearance in all quarters, including official quarters, of pro- 
posals for a peaceful settlement of the issues in conflict by an 
agreed partial re-distribution of colonial possessions. These 
proposals may be made in all sincerity to avert the impending 
conflict, not only in Liberal idealist quarters, where visions 
are entertained of some kind of international unification of 

1 Since writing the above, there has occurred, in connection with the 
British rearmament programme, the declaration of the Bishop of London 
in the House of Lords' debate on March nth, 1936: 

"When he was in China, they used to say that England was a tiger 

which had lost its teeth. Well, let us give the tiger a new set." 
Well said, most Christian Bishop! That is at least more honest than the 
language of the majority of clerics, and the authentic voice of British im- 

184 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

imperialism on a new basis (an "international mandate sys- 
tem" for all colonies, or "a world consortium, a federal board 
for the direction of world production and trade/' as recently 
proposed by H. G. Wells), but also to a certain extent in a 
given situation in official quarters, where the more limited 
proposals made (international inquiry into the distribution o 
raw materials, or partial reallotting of colonial mandates) rep- 
resent tentative suggestions of minor concessions from the 
Powers in possession to the challenging Powers in order to 
forestall a major attack. But these proposals bear and can bear 
no relation to the real measure of the issues in conflict, since 
no imperialist Power in possession will suffer a major loss 
without a struggle. In consequence, the significance of these 
proposals and these discussions which fill the air to-day, is 
rather as a barometer of the gathering intensity of the issues 
of the new division of the world. 

On the eve of 1914 negotiations were entered into between 
Britain and Germany for colonial re-division, and brought 
near to completion. In August 1913 an agreement was initial- 
led between Britain and Germany for the cession of the Portu- 
guese colonies in Africa (Angola, Mozambique, San Thome 
and Principe) to Germany. In June 1914 a convention was 
initialled between Britain and Germany with regard to the 
projected Bagdad railway and the joint exploitation of Meso- 
potamia. All this did not prevent the outbreak of the war, 
reflecting the dominant imperialist antagonisms in all spheres, 
in August 1914. 

To-day once again the talk is of colonial re-division or of a 
"more equitable" distribution of colonial mandates or of col- 
onial raw materials. The ball was set rolling by the speech of 
the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, at Geneva in 
September 1935. The words of the declaration are sufficiently 
important to note: 

"I will take as an example the problem of the world's 
economic resources and the possibility of making better use 
of them in the future. Abundant supplies of raw materials 


appear to give peculiar advantage to the countries possess- 
ing them. It is easy to exaggerate the decisive character of 
such an advantage, for there are countries which, having 
little or no natural abundance, have yet made themselves 
prosperous and powerful by industry and trade. 

"Yet the fact remains that some countries, either in their 
native soil or in their colonial territories, do possess what 
appear to be preponderant advantages; and that others, less 
favoured, view the situation with anxiety. Especially as re- 
gards colonial raw materials, it is not unnatural that such a 
state of affairs should give rise to fear lest exclusive mon- 
opolies be set up at the expense of those countries that do 
not possess colonial empires. 

"As the question is causing discontent and anxiety, the 
wise course is to investigate it, to see what the proposals are 
for dealing with it, to see what is the real scope of the 
trouble, and if the trouble is substantial, to try to remove it. 
The view of His Majesty's Government is that the problem 
is economic rather than political and territorial. It is the 
fear of monopoly of the withholding of essential colonial 
raw materials that is causing alarm. 

"It is the desire for a guarantee that the distribution of 
raw materials will not be unfairly impeded that is stimulat- 
ing the demand for further inquiry. So far as His Majesty's 
Government is concerned, I feel sure that we should be 
ready to take our share in an investigation of these matters. 

"My impression is that there is no question in present 
circumstances of any colony withholding its raw materials 
from any prospective purchaser. On the contrary, the 
trouble is that they cannot be sold at remunerative prices. 
This side of the question was investigated with concrete 
results by a Commission of the Monetary and Economic 
Conference which met in London in 1933. Its work was di- 
rected primarily towards raising wholesale prices to a reas- 
onable level through the co-ordination of production and 
marketing; but one of the stipulations of such action was 
that it should be fair to all parties, both producers and con- 

i86 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

sumers, that it should not aim at discriminating against a 
particular country, and that it should, as far as possible, be 
worked with the willing co-operation of consuming interests 
in importing countries. 

"This precedent may indicate a suitable line of approach 
to an inquiry which should be limited in this case to raw 
materials from colonial areas, including protectorates and 
mandated territories. I suggest that the emphasis in the 
terms of reference should fall upon free distribution of such 
raw materials among the industrial countries which require 
them, so that all fear of exclusion or monopoly may be re- 
moved once and for all, 

"The Government that I represent will, I know, be pre- 
pared to take its share in any collective attempt to deal in 
a fair and effective way with a problem that is certainly 
troubling many people at present and may trouble them 
even more in the future. Obviously, however, such an in- 
quiry needs calm and dispassionate consideration, and calm 
and dispassionate consideration is impossible in an atmos- 
phere of war and threatenings of war/' 

(SIR SAMUEL HOARE, speech in the League of Nations 

Assembly, September nth, 1935) 

It is difficult to refrain from commenting in detail on this 
extremely rich specimen of modern monopolist expression, 
every sentence of which deserves its comment; but it is neces- 
sary first to examine further the general line of approach to 
these issues before coming to the particular proposals voiced 
by Sir Samuel Hoare. 

While the Hoare speech officially opened the issue, it had al- 
ready been widely broached in semi-official expression around 
this time, coinciding with the Italian advance to war on Abys- 
sinia. In August 1935 The Times reported from its Paris cor- 

"The colonial problem will be the next great question to 
be faced in Europe. It lies at the bottom of the Italian ad- 


venture, and it may be found at the head of the next list of 
German demands. Here as in England there are thoughtful 
people who think that revision of the distribution of col- 
onies is inevitable sooner or later, and that the sooner the 
fact is frankly faced the easier and less costly revision will 

(The Time$> August 2ist, 1935) 

In September 1935 the Archbishop of York gave a broadcast 
address in which he said: 

"Before there was any thought of a League of Nations we 
had ourselves occupied a great part of the earth and the 
supply of raw materials. ... If we now say to those who 
have need of expansion, 'In the name of love and brother- 
hoodhands off!' we shall be convicted of gross hypocrisy. 
If we really believe in the community of nations we must 
be ready, and obviously ready, to start the work of arrang- 
ing for the nations which lack outlet the means of satisfying 
their need. It will be far the most difficult problem ever at- 
tempted by human statesmanship. The need for sacrifice of 
all acquisitiveness, the rights of inhabitants in the lands 
affected, and a host of other factors will render that prob- 
lem insoluble except to those who approach it in real good 
will. Yet we must be ready to try. The League must stand 
for equity as well as law." 

(ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, broadcast address, 

September ist, 1935) 

In September 1935 the Trades Union Congress passed a reso- 
lution, later adopted also by the Labour Party Conference, 

"We call upon the British Government to urge the 
League of Nations to summon a World Economic Confer- 
ence and to place upon its agenda the international control 
of the sources of supply of raw materials, with the applica- 

i88 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tion of the principle of equality of opportunity to all na- 
tions in the undeveloped regions of the earth." 
(Resolution of the National Labour Council, 
adopted by the Trades Union Congress in 
September 1935, and by the Labour Party 

Conference in October 1935) 

In October 1935 the National Peace Council held a widely 
attended conference on "Peace and the Colonial Problem," 
at which addresses on the question of colonial revision to meet 
the demands of the dissatisfied imperialist Powers, extension 
of the mandate system, etc., were given by Sir Arthur Salter, 
Lord Lothian, Professor Stanley Jevons and others. 

What lay behind this sudden outburst during September 
and October 1935, of diplomatic, Christian, pacifist, Liberal 
and Labour feeling on the question of colonial re-distribution 
and "justice" for the dispossessed imperialist Powers, Ger- 
many, Italy and Japan? The answer was only too plain to 
view. The answer lay in the Italian preparations of war for 
the conquest of Abyssinia, with the background of the Jap- 
anese war offensive and the German war preparations and col- 
onial demands. The taiiks and bombing planes of Italy, Ger- 
many and Japan had produced this passion for "justice" in so 
many Christian and pacifist breasts. 

The conception of "justice," however, on this colonial issue 
was and remains a curious one. All the outbursts of pacifist 
sympathy were for the highly armed imperialist Powers who 
had been so cruelly deprived of their fair share of colonial 
spoils or of the raw materials extracted with blood and tears 
from the forced and sweated labour of the colonial peoples. 
The subjection of the colonial peoples to the imperialist ex- 
ploiters was taken for granted as a natural dispensation of 
Providence. "Justice" consisted in rearranging the booty. In 
studying the proceedings of the National Peace Council's well- 
intentioned conference on "Peace and the Colonial Problem," 
in surveying the enlightened and philanthropic pleas of the 
highly placed speakers for sympathy for the poor "Have-Not" 


Powers deprived of colonies, it is impossible to fail to be re- 
minded of the child who, on being shown the picture of the 
Christians Thrown to the Lions, was full of sympathy for 
"the lion who had not got a Christian." 

It is worth noting, however, that at this conference of the 
National Peace Council on "Peace and the Colonial Problem" 
one voice of the African peoples themselves broke into the 
general discussion. Mr. Arnold Ward of Barbados said: 

"In my humble opinion I think that the conference is 
simply anxious to satisfy the European nations. The native 
populations are not taken into account. This conference is 
simply troublous about a sort of a peace among the well- 
armed and developed nations of the world, because in talk- 
ing about raw materials and about migration and the 
transfer of the countries, it seems that the people of these 
particular countries are absolutely ignored. They have no 
voice in the transfer of their countries, no voice in the sell- 
ing of their raw materials though they have to produce 
them. No one suggests that the inhabitants of these coun- 
tries should be consulted. We would like to ask Sir Arthur 
Salter if he has any proof whatsoever that these black people 
are not capable of governing themselves. If he says they are 
not capable of doing so in the interests of British capitalists, 
then I should say he is quite right, but if he says they are 
not capable of governing themselves in the interests of their 
own people, I should say he was quite wrong." 

This speech was suitably ignored by subsequent speakers. It 
will remain as a treasure from that conference, after the con- 
tributions of the distinguished experts have passed into ob- 
livion. Parallel to this voice of the people who are the subject- 
matter of the "colonial problem," let us set down the blunt 
statement of the representative of the Soviet Union at Geneva 
in September 1935, at the same time as Hoare's speech: 

"The Soviet Government is in principle opposed to the 

igo WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

system of colonies, to the policy of spheres of influence and 
to anything pertaining to imperialist aims." 

The discussions and the proposals for a peaceful re-distri- 
bution of colonies or of colonial advantages can reach no so- 
lution, because their basis is false, because they are in fact 
only the expression of a thieves' fight over spoils, and "there is 
no honour among thieves.*' The truth of this stands out the 
more clearly the more the concrete problems are examined. 
For, even assuming the basis of the "practical" experts who 
fear to be what they call "Utopian" (i.e. to build on the real 
force of the rising colonial liberation movements as the ultim- 
ately stronger force than imperialism), and who end in con- 
sequence by being really Utopian (i.e. imagining the harmon- 
ious reconciliation of the contradictions of imperialism), 
assuming their basis of the supposed "necessity" of the im- 
perialist exploitation of the colonial peoples, what possibility 
do their proposals offer of a solution of the colonial antag- 
onisms of imperialism? 

In order to answer this question it is necessary to ask: for 
what does imperialism require colonies? 

The answers to this question in current imperialist discus- 
sion show extreme confusion. We may leave out of account 
the "moral" and "civilising" types of theory of the imperialist 
r61e, since it is unlikely that the imperialist Powers would 
engage in war to destruction through eagerness to compete in 
a "moral" and "civilising" r61e. Apart from these, four main 
types of theory of the colonial policy of imperialism may be 
distinguished in current imperialist expression. 

The first (still current in Fascist and reactionary circles 
which prefer to throw a veil over the material aims of colonial 
policy) is the old-fashioned racial theory of the natural destiny 
of the "white" race to rule over other races, the theory of the 
"white man's burden" (shouldered to-day with singular suc- 
cess by the Japanese "yellow man"), which still found an echo 
in Hitler's speech at Munich in January 1936: 


"The white race is destined to rule. It has the unconscious 
urge to rule. . . . When the white race abandons the foun- 
dations of its rule over the world it will lose that rule. It is 
a rule which is the basis of the European economic struc- 

(HITLER, speech at Munich on January 27 th, 1936) 

It is obvious that this extremely confused explanation is no 
theory, but only an expression of the imperialist drive to 
domination. The racial theory had in practice to be aban- 
doned even by its exponents from the moment that the Jap 
anese social structure reached the stage of monopoly-capital- 
ism, and the colonial policy of Japanese imperialism enforced 
recognition for itself on the same basis as that of every other 

The second still current imperialist theory of colonial policy 
is the theory of "over-population" and the need of colonies as 
"outlets" for the teeming home populations. The Fascists, 
militarists and imperialists will in alternate speeches deplore 
the falling rate of population growth in their respective coun- 
tries, and call for energetic measures to accelerate by every 
means the growth of population, and will simultaneously 
point to the growth of population as the irrefutable argument 
for the necessity of colonies to provide an outlet for the 
"peoples without space." 

It is once again obvious that in its crude form this theory 
has no relation to facts. The majority of the colonies, over 
which the contest is fiercest, are already thickly populated, are 
not held for settlement, or are not suitable for settlement by 
the populations of the colonising Powers. As Sir Arthur Salter 
stated at the National Peace Council Conference on "Peace 
and the Colonial Problem": 

"I think it is well to say as emphatically as possible that 
as a contribution to the surplus population of the world by 
emigration, colonies offer just nothing at all. . . . Whatever 
Japan does in regard to Manchuria in ten years time, there 
won't be as many Japanese in Manchuria as the increase of 

192 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Japanese population ever)" six months. If Italy conquered 
the whole of Abyssinia and planted settlers there as hard 
as ever she could, in ten years' time she -would not have 
dealt with the increase in the population of Italy of two 
months. If you take central tropical Africa, all the Euro- 
peans in all the colonies established in the course of more 
than a quarter of a century, they do not amount to as much 
as the increase of the Italian population in a year. . . . 

"There is no such thing as a surplus population any- 
where except one that is relative to and caused by the exist- 
ing commercial and economic system." 

This is clearly correct; but it once again gives rise to the 
question: why, then, does imperialism require colonies? So has 
arisen the third imperialist theory of colonial policy which is 
to-day the most widely current, that imperialism requires col- 
onies for the supply of raw materials. In these terms Goebbels 
frankly declared in his speech on January lyth, 1936: 

**We are a poor nation. We have no colonies, no raw 
materials. But we must tell the other nations that the time 
will come when we must demand our colonies back. ... It 
is dangerous for the world not to concede such demands, 
because some day the bomb will explode." 

This is a step nearer to the truth, but only a step, because, in 
presenting the colonies as agrarian hinterlands of the indus- 
trialised imperialist countries, it conceals the real character of 
colonial exploitation. If the role of the colonies were only that 
of agrarian countries exchanging their raw matetrials for the 
industrial goods of the colonial countries, what need of a col- 
onial system to enforce this? This argument is used with an 
appearance of effectiveness by the representatives of the pos- 
sessing colonial Powers against the challenging Powers, since 
they point out that the raw materials are there for all to buy 
(with certain limited exceptions), and that the normal diffi- 
culty is to find sufficient purchasers. So Sir Arthur Salter ar- 
gued in his speech already quoted: 


"What is the trouble? It is not that there is a discrimina- 
tion in the supply of raw materials to non-producing coun- 
tries. Raw materials are available on equal terms to any 
purchaser who comes along. If there are any exceptions, 
they are of negligible importance. There is a surplus of raw 
materials and producers are only too anxious to sell them. 
But their merchants are handicapped by the fact that they 
have to buy in foreign currency, and it happens that be- 
cause of the currency upset of the world, German and 
Italian merchants have difficulty in getting the foreign ex- 
change which they need to buy those foreign materials. 
That difficulty arises from the domestic policy of those 
countries and cannot be really dealt with by colonial pol- 

Thus the possession of colonies is presented as of no economic 
advantage for the capitalists of the colonial Power in securing 
the supply of raw materials; there is "equality" for all; the 
only "difficulty" is regarded as arising from temporary condi- 
tions consequent on the world economic crisis, outside the 
sphere of colonial policy. 

These arguments may not be convincing to the Powers de- 
siring colonies; but they are so convincing to the spokesmen 
of the colony-possessing Powers, and to the Liberal theorists 
of the economic valuelessness of colonies to the possessing 
Powers, as to throw these into considerable difficulties to ex- 
plain why the capitalists fight with such intensity for the pos- 
session of colonies. So is evolved the fourth theory of colonial 
policy which begins to be voiced to-day, the theory that the 
desire for colonies is not in reality an economic question, but 
a "psychological" question, a question of "prestige." This 
view was expressed by the author of The Duty of Empire, 
Leonard Barnes, a former official of the British Colonial Ser- 
vice, in the conference on "Peace and the Colonial Problem": 

"On this question of dissatisfaction. It is largely a ques- 
tion of prestige. To that extent it is a psychological ques- 
tion and calls for psychological treatment. No one, I think, 

194 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

knows whether, or how far, colonies are of any real value to 
the suzerain power, but when we are looking at the ques- 
tion from the angle of prestige that makes no odds at all." 

Similarly, the Labour Party organ, the Daily Herald, declared 
in an editorial on "Colonies and Peace" on February 6th, 

"But what is the colonial problem? Is it economic? Or is 
it psychological? 

"Theory and fact combine to support the view that al- 
most all the economic arguments concerning population 
and raw materials and trade outlets are fallacious. 

"Primarily it is not a question of trade. It is a question of 
prestige, of status. The dangerous tensions are not econom- 
ic, but psychological. The origin of impending trouble is 
the sense of inferiority/' 

The imperialist theories of colonial policy, whether on the 
Right or on the Left, thus end in stultification. They end in 
stultification because they cannot face the central fact of co- 
lonial exploitation. In consequence, a series of myths have to 
be created to explain the purpose of colonial policy. On the 
Right, we see the racial myths or the myths of colonies as a 
supposed outlet for surplus population. These are demolished 
by the critics on the Left, who in turn erect the myth of colon- 
ial policy as a purely "psychological" phenomenon, indulged 
in by the deluded imperialists without profit for reasons of 
"prestige." Meanwhile, the colonial peoples themselves know 
well in their own persons why the slave-drivers have taken 
possession of their countries. 

The leaders of finance-capital, in their fight to win and hold 
colonies by every weapon in their power, are in fact concerned 
for more solid advantages than "psychological" satisfactions. 
What are these solid advantages? Let us begin with an exam- 
ination, not of the special questions of Germany, Italy and 
Japan, but with the central antagonism of imperialism, the 
Anglo-American antagonism. On the opposite page is a table 


of British and American exports to the leading countries of 
the world in 1930, before there was any question of the "ring- 
fence" of Ottawa (reproduced from the Economist, November 
25th, 1933). 

What does this table show? If we leave out of account the 
special cases of the two neighbouring countries, Canada in the 
case of the United States, and Ireland in the case of Britain, 
we find the following: 


Value of 

Value of 




Exports as 



% of British 







Irish Free State 




















South Africa 












New Zealand 

























































5>9 6 3 



196 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

British exports predominated in India, Australia, South 
Africa, New Zealand, Egypt, Malaya, Nigeria and the three 
Scandinavian countries. 

American exports predominated in France, Germany, Bel- 
gium, Italy, Holland, Spain, China, Japan, Brazil, Chile, Ar- 
gentina and the Soviet Union* 

The line of the two trade supremacies is sufficiently indica- 
tive. By 1930 the stronger American economic power had oust- 
ed British priority in every leading country in the world ex- 
cept the Empire countries, and the three Scandinavian coun- 
tries (closely linked to Britain; indeed, the former Colonial 
Minister, Amery, has proposed that they should be united to 
the British Empire). 

But a further examination reveals more. Which were the 
countries in which British predominance remained strongest 
and in which American exports were not able to reach 20 per 
cent of British? They were four: India, Egypt, Nigeria, Ma- 
laya. In other words, the four countries in the above list repre- 
senting the dependent, autocratically ruled empire, or the 
colonial system proper. 

This is not simply a question of tariffs and preferences. The 
advantage of the sovereign Power in its colonies does not de- 
pend solely on such direct means. An examination of the posi- 
tion in the Central African colonies, which are still largely 
governed by the "Open Door" principles of the Congo Basin 
Treaties and the AiigloFrench Convention, ruling out pre- 
ferential duties, illustrates this. In his booklet on The Future 
of Colonies Leonard Barnes gives some interesting tables of 
the situation in these colonies: 


Imports from Exports to 
per cent per cent 

United Kingdom 67 37 

Germany 8 16 

Italy .3 4 



Imports from Exports to 

per cent per cent 

Belgium 46 76 

United Kingdom n .09 

Germany 7 1.6 

Italy .8 .1 


Imports from 


France 47.3 

United Kingdom 15.8 

Germany 7.6 

The author concludes from his survey: "Effective equality is 
evidently not established by mere absence of tariff discrimin- 
ation. The fact is, of course, that the scales are loaded in 
favour of the suzerain both in colonies and in mandated ter- 
ritories, even when the 'Open Door* principle is in operation." 

In other words, the universal "Open Door" principle, which 
is put forward by the reformers for the solution of the colonial 
problem ("equality of opportunity to all nations in the un- 
developed regions of the earth," in the terms of the Labour 
Party resolution) is no solution. The decisive question for se- 
curing the economic advantages in a given colony is sovereign- 
ty of that colony (whether in the dress of a "mandate" or 
otherwise makes no difference); and there is no peaceful solu- 
tion to the contest for this. 

Does this examination of only one aspect of colonial dom- 
ination, in respect of markets, mean that the colonial question 
is only a question of privileged markets? Not at all. This is 
only one aspect which cannot in practice be separated from 
the others. Domination of a given series of colonial markets 
provides in turn the means to purchase the required amount 
of colonial raw materials (without which means the "equal- 
ity" of the non-colonial Powers also to purchase is of very lim- 
ited value); and both in turn are linked up with the export of 

198 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

capital; and finally the whole is built on the special conditions 
of exploitation o the colonial workers and peasants. 

The advantage of colonial possessions to the finance-capital- 
ists of the colonial Powers cannot be expressed in any single 
factor in isolation, whether as a market for the export of 
goods, a market for the export of capital, a source of raw ma- 
terials monopoly, or a source of super-profits through the ex- 
ploitation of colonial labour, because the modern colonial sys- 
tem under imperialism is in fact a single complex of all these; 
and the pivot of the whole complex, without which it would 
break down, is the sovereignty, the armed domination, of the 
colonial Power over the colony. 

The essence of the relations of the colonies and imperialism 
is inequality. The colonial peoples are compelled, by a whole 
series of devices and regulations, depriving them of their 
land, hut taxes, poll taxes, etc., to labour and produce the raw 
materials for prices which leave them on a starvation level. 
The prices of the goods which are exported to the colonies are 
on a high level. It is unequal exchange, which is in fact main- 
tained by armed force, and which yields the high colonial 
super-profits to the capitalists of the ruling country. To this 
unequal exchange is added the direct tribute on the export of 

It is this privileged position in relation to colonies of their 
own, and the super-profits arising from colonial exploitation, 
that the imperialist Powers deprived of colonies demand. It is 
no use explaining to them, while they are outside the charmed 
circle, that they have perfect formal "equality" to buy the raw 
materials from the monopoly at the monopoly's price (not at 
the price paid to the colonial producers, the peasants or work- 
ers). If they have to pay the price of the International Tin 
Monopoly (under the British Colonial Office) or the Interna- 
tional Rubber Regulation Committee (dominated by the 
British-Dutch interests), the fact that there is "no discrimina- 
tion" against them (in the kindly words of Hoare), that they 
are only having to pay the sarrjp price as other customers, does 
not bring them any nearer to sharing in the spoils of colonial 


The fight between the rival imperialist Powers for the pos- 
session of colonies is a fight for domination, for monopoly, 
which is expressed in and dependent on sovereignty over a 
given series of colonies. No regulations, no international 
agreements, no "mandates," no "Open Door" conventions, 
nor even "Inquiries" as (recommended by Hoare), can over- 
come this. Why did British imperialism strain every nerve to 
free itself from the American monopoly of raw cotton, organ- 
ising the Empire Cotton Growing Association since 1902, and 
developing with enormous subsidies as well as with vast con- 
struction works like the Assouan Dam and the Sind Barrage, 
the growth of cotton in the Sudan, in India, in Kenya, in 
Uganda, in Iraq? (until the point was reached in 1933 when 
President Roosevelt was paying subsidies to the American cot- 
ton farmers to plough up their crops for which there was no 
market, while Britain was paying subsidies to turn the Sind 
desert into a cotton plantation)? Why did British imperialism 
send its agents all round the world prospecting for oil to free 
itself from the American oil monopoly, tearing up the Turk- 
ish Empire in the hunt for oil, dominating Persia, creating 
the new State of Iraq, fomenting civil war in Mexico, until 
to-day its rival oil monopoly has spread its tentades in every 
quarter of the globe? Why has American imperialism strained 
every nerve to free itself from the British rubber monopoly, 
whose deadly power was shown in the Stevenson restriction 
scheme, leading to the United States pouring out millions to 
develop the growth of rubber in its South American "col- 
onies"? The answer is obvious. This is the expression of the 
fight of the monopolists. And in this fight colonial possessions 
or the semi-colonial forms of political dependence of States 
within the sphere of influence of the monopolist Power are 

In these drcumstances the bland assurances of a Hoare, at 
the head of the principal monopolist Empire, against "fear of 
monopoly," and offers of "inquiry," will not help. Nor will 
well-intentioned proposals for "equitable" "international" al- 
location of "equality of access" to colonial raw materials, 
markets, etc., avail to remove the real conflict, so long as sov- 

200 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ereignty of the colonies (whether in the "mandate" form or 
otherwise), and therefore effective control of the real owner- 
ship and profits of colonial exploitation, rests in the hands of 
the colonial Powers. The battle between the possessing and 
the challenging imperialist Powers for the possession of col- 
onies cannot be thus escaped. 

What, then, of the proposals for the direct "re-distribution" 
of colonies or colonial mandates, by the surrendering of par- 
ticular colonies from their present sovereignty and handing 
them over to Germany or Italy? In minor cases, particularly 
with regard to the colonies of a smaller colonial Power, such 
proposals for bartering the colonial peoples in the cattle-mar- 
ket of the Great Powers are not impossible. Thus we saw how 
before the war of 1914 Britain was ready to make the attempt 
to buy off the German challenge with a magnanimous offer of 
the colonies of its vassal, Portugal; and similarly in 1925 the 
attempt was made to appease the Italian grievances with the 
cession of Jubaland. The Portuguese colonies may once again 
figure in a similar deal in the future. But the concessions of- 
fered are inevitably minute compared to the main spoils; they 
may slightly postpone the conflict, but in the end they are 
only a whet to the appetite of the challenging Powers, and no 
solution of the real antagonisms. 

Any general redistribution of the vast existing colonial em- 
pires without war is out of the question. Indeed, even the pro- 
posals of minor concessions have aroused intense opposition. 
This was evident in the character of semi-official comment on 
the Hoare offer. In an editorial on "Colonial Facts and Fal- 
lacies" of January igth, 1936, The Times declared: 

"The common starting point is, of course, that British 
colonies are integral parts of the Empire, to which they are 
attached by ties of loyalty and pride as well as of self-inter- 
est. They are not objects of barter, or parts of a jig-saw 
puzzle to be transferred from one owner to another to fit a 
political pattern/' 

Similarly, in an editorial on "Mandate Revision Dangers," 


the Daily Telegraph of February 6th, 1936, corrected miscon- 
ceptions of the Hoare offer: 

"An entirely mistaken idea of what he (Sir Samuel 
Hoare) said and meant very soon took shape, and in certain 
quarters the hope was even encouraged that Great Britain 
was ready to consider a 'share-out' of her Colonial Empire. 
There would indeed be a long queue of applicants if notice 
to that effect were given." 

In response to the widespread clamour the British Colonial 
Secretary gave an assurance in Parliament on February i2th, 
1936, that 

"His Majesty's Government have not considered and are 
not considering the handing over of any of the British col- 
onies or territories held under mandate." 

(j. H. THOMAS, Colonial Secretary, in the House 

of Commons, February isth, 1936) 

The effect of this apparent denial, however, which in fact only 
covered the past and not the future intentions of the Govern- 
ment, was wiped out by the subsequent declaration of the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 1936. 

"There is a clear distinction between colonies and man- 
dated territories. So far as I know, no one has ever asked or 
suggested that the British Empire should give up any of its 
colonies, and I need hardly say that if such a demand were 
made it could not possibly be entertained for a moment. 
Mandated territories are not colonies. They are in a some- 
what different category and they are only part of the British 
Empire in what I may call a colloquial sense. . . . 

"In order to effect a transfer there will be at least re- 
quired the assent of the mandatory Power, the Power to 
whom the territory was to be transferred, and finally the 
assent of the Council of the League of Nations. . . . 

"As to what might happen in the future I think it would 

202 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

be unreasonable to ask me to attempt to pledge the action 
of future Governments, but I will say this at any rate the 
mandates are not held by this country alone. I cannot con- 
ceive that any Government would even discuss the question 
of the transfer of its own mandates quite irrespective of 
what was to happen to the mandates held by other coun- 
tries. I would say in addition that we do recognise that we 
have definite obligations to the people who inhabit these 
territories, and that we would not think of surrendering 
these obligations or handing those territories over to any 
other Power, even for the sake of obtaining that general 
peaceful settlement which all of us so much desire, unless 
we were satisfied that the interests of all sections of the 
populations inhabiting those territories were fully safe- 
(NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN,, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 

in the House of Commons, April 6th, 1936) 

From all this, as well as from subsequent statements, it is clear 
that the British National Government is In fact contemplat- 
ing the handing over of mandated territories to Nazi Germany 
as part of its general bargain with Hitler. 

Does this mean that the colonial conflict of the imperialist 
Powers, and the consequent drive to war, would be thereby 
solved? On the contrary. The cession of the ex-German man- 
dated territories would be a flea-bite compared to the issues at 
stake, and would only have significance as part of the general 
line of co-operation of the National Government with Hitler. 
The primary immediate aims of expansion of Nazi Germany 
are in Europe, and would only be strengthened by the advan- 
tage secured through the cession of the mandated territories to 
reinforce its resources and preparations for war. If these aims 
of expansion in Europe are allowed to meet with success, then 
the ultimate aims would extend far beyond the mandated ter- 
ritories, and would inevitably in the culminating stage turn 
against the British Empire, as some of the more far-sighted 
leaders of British imperialism are already beginning to recog- 


nise. 1 The cession of the mandated territories to Nazi Ger- 
many, now contemplated by the National Government, al- 
though of obvious sinister significance for the immediate situ- 
ation as a direct assistance and encouragement to Nazi Ger- 
many, would have no more effect on the ultimate issue than 
the previous treaty handing over the Portuguese colonies to 
Germany in 1913. 

The battle for the new division of the world stands before 
imperialism without solution within the conditions of imper- 

1 The ultimate aims of German imperialist expansion at the expense of 
the British Empire received typical unofficial expression in the notorious 
book of the military theorist, Professor Banse, entitled Raurn und Volk 
im Weltkrieg, published under the Nazi regime, i.e. with the permission 
of the extremely exacting censorship: 

"We confess it is an attractive prospect for us to imagine and sketch 
out the downfall at some future time of this proud and secure people, 
who will be made to obey foreign lords as they have never done since 
1066, or at least will be compelled to surrender then* lucrative colonial 

The bellicose professor has here travelled too fast for the immediate dip- 
lomatic aims of Nazi policy, which requires at first, as explained in Mein 
Kampf, the co-operation of Britain in order to achieve uie initial stages 
of its conquests. 

Chapter VII 

"Having been in international politics for most of the time since 
the war, I will not write myself down a pessimist, but I will say 
that at times I feel that I am living in a madhouse/' 

RT. HON. STANLEY BALDWIN, address to the National 

Council of Free Churches in Wales on April 8th, 1935 

X HE GATHERING STRUGGLE for the new division o territories 
and spheres of influence develops in every quarter of the 

In the forefront stands the offensive of the three challenging 
Powers, of Japan in the Far East, of Germany in Europe, and 
of Italy in Northern Africa and the Near East. 

But behind these are revealed the basic antagonisms of the 
dominant imperialist Powers in possession, the Anglo-Ameri- 
can antagonism and the Anglo-French antagonism. It is only 
the divisions and particular conflicting aims of the dominant 
Powers in possession that make possible the advance of the 
openly aggressive expansionist forces. 

The Japanese accelerating advance in the Far East has gone 
forward against the background of the Anglo-American antag- 
onism. The German expansion and successful tearing up of 
Versailles and Locarno, no less than the Italian aggression in 
Africa, have gone forward against the background of the 
Anglo-French antagonism. 

While, therefore, the dynamic war-making forces, Germany, 
Japan and Italy, occupy to-day the immediate international 
foreground in the drive to war, a correct estimate of forces 
must devote no less careful attention to the rdle of the most 



powerful imperialist forces, Britain, the United States and 

Finally, behind all these, and cutting across and transform- 
ing all these relations, is the hostility of imperialism to the 
Soviet Union, most actively voiced and led to-day by the Fas- 
cist expansionist Powers, especially Germany and Japan, but 
with support from dominant sections in Britain, and also 
from sections of the ruling class in other countries; and, as 
against this, the counter-attempt of the Soviet Union, in as- 
sociation with all elements opposed to immediate war, to or- 
ganise a combined front of peace and collective security 
throughout the world against the menace of new world war. 

All these forces are closely interrelated. While the deeper 
Anglo-American antagonism, which manifests itself all over the 
world in the economic field, in the strategic field, and with 
special reference to the Far East, the Dominions and South 
America, does not yet advance to the close menace of war, its 
influence is of key importance for all the relations of imper- 
ialism. The immediate threatening battle-grounds of future 
war arise from the Japanese offensive in the Far East and the 
German Nazi offensive in Europe. But these in turn are close- 
ly linked, as expressed in the German-Japanese Military 
Treaty of 1936, with the common offensive against the Soviet 
Union. These special aspects of the war offensive, in respect 
of the relations of imperialism and the Soviet Union, are con- 
sidered in greater detail in the next chapter; in the present 
chapter the main attention is concentrated on the conflicts be- 
tween the imperialist Powers. 

Subject to these interrelationships, which invalidate any 
rigid compartmental treatment, it is necessary to examine 
briefly the situation and relation of forces in the main areas 
of conflict and threatening battlegrounds of future war. 


While the battle of imperialism for the new division of the 
world extends over the whole world, two main fields of con- 
flict stand out. The first is the complex of antagonisms in the 

206 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Far East, which concentrates at once the conflicts of the lead- 
ing imperialist Powers, especially Britain, the United States 
and Japan, the issue of imperialism and the Soviet Union, and 
the struggle of imperialism against the colonial revolution. 
The second centres round the Fascist revisionist offensive in 
Europe, primarily of Nazi Germany, and secondarily of Italy, 
with its repercussions beyond Europe in Northern Africa and 
the Near East. It is the peculiar position and dilemma of Brit- 
ish imperialism to be closely involved in both situations of 
developing war. 

The Japanese war offensive in the Far East since 1931 
opened the new war-phase succeeding to the period of stabil- 
isation. Japan took the first direct measures of imperialism for 
the forcible new division of the world. This extending offen- 
sive has continued now for close on five years unbroken, with 
enlarging scope and aims, and has not yet reached its climax. 
By the conquests of these five years Japan now holds under 
direct military control Manchukuo, Jehol, Inner Mongolia, 
and the provinces of Northern China, or an area exceeding 
the total area of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, 
with a population of roughly one hundred millions; it claims 
direct control over the Chinese Government and over China 
as a whole; on the borders of Manchukuo, and by the threat 
of war on Outer Mongolia, it threatens war against the Soviet 
Union; the ultimate aims of the military party extend to com- 
plete control of Eastern Asia and the final ousting of Britain, 
France and the United States from the Far East. 

What lies behind this extending Japanese war offensive 
which has dominated the Far Eastern situation since 1931? 
The Japanese offensive is itself the reflection of two main 
groups of factors. The first is the internal situation in Japan, 
the growing economic difficulties and class-contradictions of 
the existing regime, the rising agrarian crisis and revolution- 
ary unrest, and the endeavour of the dominant militarist- 
Fascist elements to find a solution along the path of war and 
expansionist adventure. The second lies in the external situ- 
ation, in the extreme tension of international antagonisms in, 
the Far East, which has made possible the Japanese advance, 


as well as in the extreme division of the revolutionary and 
counter-revolutionary forces in China. The Japanese offensive 
has in practice been able to go forward to its present strength 
on the basis of the Anglo-American antagonism, on the basis 
of the antagonism of imperialism to the Soviet Union, and on 
the basis of the common interests of the imperialist Powers 
and of the Chinese counter-revolution against Soviet China 
and against the national revolutionary struggle. The key to 
the success of the Japanese war of conquest up to the present 
point has lain in the skilful utilisation of these antagonisms, 
and especially of the divisions of Britain and the United 
States. The major r61e in making possible the Japanese ad- 
vance up to the most recent stage has been the role of British 
policy, even though the consequences of that policy have now 
brought British imperialism face to face with an extremely 
sharp dilemma. It is this international background of the 
Japanese offensive that is of critical importance for the pres- 
ent world situation. 

Since the opening of the Japanese offensive in 1931, all the 
existing relations and balance of forces in the Far East have 
been thrown into the melting-pot. The Far East has become 
more and more manifestly the centre of gravity of world pol- 
itics. While any attempt to isolate the Far East from the world 
situation as a whole would be in danger of giving a false per- 
spective, and in particular would mean to under-estimate the 
significance of the Nazi offensive as the possible immediate 
storm-centre and starting-point of new world war, there is no 
doubt that the Far East stands out in the modern period as 
the arena of the ultimately most profound conflicts of world 
imperialism, as well as of the offensive of imperialism against 
the Soviet Union. 1 

x The r6Ie of the Far East as the destined main focus of world antagon- 
isms had already been noted by observers since the end of the nineteenth 
century. At the beginning of the twentieth century the American Secre- 
tary of State, John Hay, had expressed the view: 

"The storm centre of the world has shifted ... to China. Whoever 

understands that mighty Empire has a key to world politics for the 

next five centuries." 

2o8 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

This role of the Far East as the main centre of world antag- 
onisms in the present period inevitably follows from the re- 
lation of forces in the Pacific area. 

First, the main spoils of the new division of the world, the 
aim of complete domination and exploitation of the four 
hundred and fifty millions of the Chinese people, lure on the 
imperialist Powers as the prize of mastery in the Far East; 
and the ultimate prizes of domination in the Pacific extend 
beyond China to Eastern Asia as a whole, to the chain of is- 
lands of the East Indies, and to Australia and New Zealand, 
and finally to India. 

Second, the four principal world Powers of imperialism- 
Britain, the United States, Japan and to a lesser extent France 
here directly confront one another with rival adjoining 
possessions, spheres of influence and expansionist aims; against 
the still continuing British dominance in this region the Jap- 
anese drive of expansion now presses hard, while the United 
States is rapidly preparing for the final conflict. 

Third, against the existing imperialist domination and 
schemes of expansion the battle of the colonial peoples for 
liberation has here its centre: the national revolutionary 
struggle of the Chinese people, developing for a quarter of a 

(JOHN HAY, United States Secretary of State, 1898-1905, quoted in 
p. T. MOON, Imperialism and World Politics, New York, 1928, p. 321) 
By 1921, when the Anglo-German antagonism, which till then had held 
first place, appeared to be liquidated, the leading spokesman of British 
imperialism, General Smuts, gave expression to a similar view that the 
centre of world politics had henceforth shifted to the Pacific: 

"Our temptation is still to look upon the European stage as of first 
importance. It is no longer so. ... These are not really first-class events 
any more. . . . Undoubtedly the scene has shifted away from Europe 
to the Pacific* The problems of the Pacific are to my mind the world 
problems of the next fifty years or more." 

(GENERAL SMUTS, speech to the Imperial Conference in 1921) 
This expression reflected the situation of 1921 when in the first post-war 
phase the Anglo-American antagonism was reaching to extreme sharpness. 
In fact, however, the Washington Conference of 1921-1922 stabilised the 
situation in the Far East for a decade. It was only with the breakdown 
of that stabilisation, marked by the opening of the Japanese offensive in 
1931, that the full struggle for mastery in the Far East reached its present 
intense phase, dominating in close association with the Nazi offensive in 
Europe the world political situation. 


century with increasing tempo, and with Soviet China now in 
the forefront, is the leader and vanguard of the colonial liber- 
ation struggle all over the world. 

Fourth, the two world systems, of capitalism and of social- 
ism, have here their principal meeting-place; the Japanese 
drive of expansion, with support from the reactionary circles 
of the other imperialist Powers, ceaselessly presses against the 
Soviet Union, and the powerful Fascist-militarist elements in 
Japan openly work to provoke war. 

The contradictions within this area are intense. The popu- 
lations bordering the Pacific number one thousand millions or 
half the population of the world. But the barriers of imper- 
ialism have established a situation in which there is extreme 
disproportion in the territorial distribution of this popula- 
tion. The density of population in the main areas is as fol- 

Australia . . . . . . 2.2 per square mile 

Canada . . . . . . 3.0 " 

United States . . . . 41.3 " 

Siam . . . . . . 59.7 

Indo-China .. .. 75.0 

Malaya 81.8 

China . . . . . . 104.3 

Japan 3494 

Java 678.0 

(Economic Handbook of the Pacific Area, edited by 
v. F. FIELD for the Institute of Pacific Relations, 

New York, 1934) 

Canada, with an area of 3,600,000 square miles, has a popula- 
tion of under 11 millions. The United States, with a smaller 
total territory (though a larger cultivable area), has 126 mil- 
lions. Australia, with 3 million square miles, is inhabited by 
under 7 millions, and New Zealand, with 104,000 square miles, 
by \y% millions. Confronting these are the heavily crowded 
populations of Eastern Asia: Japan with 70 millions, China 

210 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

with 450 millions, Java with 40 millions, India with 360 mil- 
lions. The barriers to a more rational distribution, which out- 
side capitalist conditions could lead to universal benefit, are 
maintained by armed power, against the will of the majority 
populations. The prizes of mastery in the Pacific are revealed 
as not only China and Eastern Asia, but also the British 

This situation of extreme disproportion of populations and 
territory in the whole region is intensified by the extreme in- 
equality of division of areas of domination between the im- 
perialist Powers, and the consequent increasing challenge of 
the advancing Powers against the existing division. This is 
the situation which fills British imperialism, formerly dom- 
inant in the Far East, in China and the Pacific, and still with 
the largest possessions, interests and spheres of influence of 
any single Power, with growing alarm in the face of the rising 
advance of Japanese and American imperialism, no less than 
in the face of the rising advance of the national revolutionary 
struggles for liberation. Britain is still the principal Power in 
possession in the Far East, but its strategic strength no longer 
corresponds to its holdings. The dilemma confronting British 
imperialism arises from the fact that it is no longer able to 
maintain dominant naval power in the Pacific to hold its 
possessions or its still privileged position in China. In the 
words of the leading British naval specialist, H. C. Bywater: 

"The Singapore base has lost much of its original signifi- 
cance. Strategically, its value is that of a halfway house. 
Hong Kong, our only other stronghold in the Far East, has 
no modern defences, these having remained in statu quo for 
the last twenty years, largely as a result of treaty restrictions. 
It is not too much to say that we hold Hong Kong on suffer- 
ance. Unpalatable though it may be, the truth is that we are 
not at the present time in a position to defend our wide- 
spread and priceless interests in the Pacific. . . . Japanese 
spokesmen have declared more or less publicly that neither 
Great Britain nor the United States is any longer capable 


of defending by force of arms its territories in the Western 

(H. c. BYWATER;, Preface to the 1934 edition of 

Sea Power in the Pacific, pp. xvii-xviii) 

This statement leaves out of account the accelerated prepara- 
tions that are now in fact going forward. But the measure of 
truth in it is of key importance for the present relation of 
forces in the Pacific, and for the consequent problems of 
British, no less than of American, policy. 

Up to the end of the nineteenth century Britain held the 
unchallenged dominant position in the Far East, Since the 
Opium Wars it had secured for itself the major share of the 
spoliation of China. Hong Kong in British hands provided 
the principal base of strategic power and the main entrepot 
for the entry of goods; Shanghai, with the International Settle- 
ment under British control, provided the principal base of 
commercial and industrial exploitation and the main seat of 
the trading and financial houses. The lion's share of Chinese 
trade (as late as 1913 nearly half the imports into China came 
from Britain or through Hong Kong, one fifth from Japan, 
and less than one sixteenth from the United States), of the ex- 
port of capital, of banking and finance, of the control of the 
railways, and of foreign industrial exploitation, was in British 
hands. China was reduced to a semi-colonial status, divided 
into spheres of exploitation between the rival imperialist 
Powers, with Britain in the dominant position. 

But by the beginning of the twentieth century the British 
position was increasingly under challenge. The advancing 
daims of the rival imperialist Powers, especially of the United 
States, of Tsarist Russia, and of Germany, were beginning to 
make themselves felt. In 1898 the United States established its 
strategic base by the conquest of the Philippines. In 1899 
American imperialism delivered its first challenge with the 
Note of the Secretary of State, John Hay, demanding the ac- 
ceptance of the principle of the Open Door in China. The 
other imperialist Powers were also preparing their positions 
for the struggle. In 1898 Germany leased Kiaochow Bay, Rus- 

212 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

sia leased Port Arthur, France leased Kwangchow Bay, while 
Britain countered by the lease of Wei-hai-wei; all these leases 
were for the preparation of naval bases. At the same time the 
advancing challenge of German imperialism was also indirect- 
ly affecting the balance of forces in the Far East. For with the 
new German Naval Law of 1900 openly pointed at British 
supremacy, it became necessary for Britain to concentrate its 
naval preparations on the North Sea, so that it could no longer 
count on maintaining alone its domination in the Pacific. 
Thus the British strategic position in the Far East began to 
weaken at the same time as the other Powers were advancing. 

It was in this situation that Britain turned for a solution 
to a step which was to have far-reaching consequences through 
the whole subsequent period. Britain took into direct alliance 
the then still secondary Power, Japan, as its partner in the Far 
East. The first step towards this had been prepared by the 
Anglo-Japanese Agreement of 1894. Britain built, equipped 
and trained the Japanese Navy. Within a fortnight of the 
Anglo- Japanese Agreement of 1894, Japan's first war on China 
followed in 1894-1895. By this war Japan secured the separa- 
tion of Korea, which it was later to annex, and the cession of 
the Liaotung Peninsula; but the joint representations of 
Russia, Germany and France (not Britain) compelled Japan to 
give back its conquest. In 1902 followed the Anglo-Japanese 
Treaty, Just as the Anglo-Japanese Agreement of 1894 had 
prepared the way for the Sino-Japanese war of 1894 and the 
Japanese domination of Korea, so the Anglo- Japanese Treaty 
of 1902 prepared the way for the Russo-Japanese war of 1904- 
1905 and the Japanese conquest of Port Arthur and the Liao- 
tung Peninsula and domination of South Manchuria. The sec- 
ond Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 1905 still further strengthened 
the provisions of the first so as to include Japanese assistance 
for the maintenance of British power in India, and also to in- 
clude the obligation of assistance by either signatory in the 
event of war with a single other Power, i.e. in the event of 
war of either with the United States. 

Thus for the two decades up to the world war Japan ad- 
vanced continuously under British protection. But with the 


world war paralysing the possibility of any counter-move of 
the European imperialist Powers, Japan seized the opportun- 
ity to go forward with its more ambitious aims of monopolist 
domination, unfolded its full programme for the subjection of 
China in the Twenty-One Demands imposed on the Chinese 
Government in 1915, and took possession of Shantung, Fukien, 
Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and (under cover of anti-Bol- 
shevik intervention) Eastern Siberia. 

This ambitious attempt of Japanese imperialism was pre- 
mature. At the end of the war American imperialism, at the 
height of its strength in contrast to the other Powers, had its 
word to say. Despite British support, Japan was forced by 
American pressure, partially at the Paris Conference, and then 
decisively at the Washington Conference, to surrender its con- 
quests. Japan had retained Shantung at Paris, but was forced 
to surrender it at Washington. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance 
was compelled by the demand of the United States to be form- 
ally dissolved. Britain was compelled to accept the principle 
of naval parity with the United States in capital ships. The 
territorial integrity of China was guaranteed, and the Open 
Door formally agreed by the Nine-Power Treaty. The build- 
ing of fortifications or new naval bases in the Pacific was pro- 
hibited within a wide delimited area, the effect of which "was 
to render impossible any major encounter of the three fleets. 
The United States had enforced its peace in the Pacific for a 
decade, a peace corresponding to the interests of its financial 
and commercial penetration. 

Stabilisation was thus achieved for a period in the Far East 
on the basis of the maintenance of the status quo and the 
joint exploitation of the Chinese people by the rival Powers 
according to the existing spheres of influence. The American 
share of imports into China rose between 1913 and 1925 from 
6 per cent to 15 per cent, while the share from Britain and 
Hong Kong fell from 46 per cent to 28 per cent. 

The partial co-operation of the imperialist Powers was 
strengthened by the advance of the Chinese Revolution. Be- 
tween 1923 and 1927 the Chinese national revolutionary 
movement, organised in the coalition party of the Kuomin- 

214 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tang, and advancing from its base in Canton, swept forward 
over the greater part of China, defeating the militarist gen- 
erals subsidised by imperialism, and coming close, with the 
capture of Shanghai in the spring of 1927, to the national 
revolutionary unification of China. But at this point the 
Chinese bourgeoisie, represented by Chiang Kai Shek, fearing 
the advance of the masses, went over to the side of imperial- 
ism and stabbed the revolution in the back. A period of heavy 
repression followed; the Kuomintang became the tool of for- 
eign imperialism. The national revolutionary struggle had to 
advance to a new stage before it could conquer. The mass 
front had to be re-formed, on the basis of the workers arid 
peasants, under the hegemony of the working class, led by the 
Communist Party, and advanced in the next period to the 
building up of the extending districts of Soviet China. 

But the antagonisms of imperialism went forward through 
the period of stabilisation. Anglo-Japanese co-operation con- 
tinued in practice, despite the formal dissolution of the Alli- 
ance. From the outset both Britain and Japan were restive 
under the restrictions of the Washington Treaties. "It is no 
more than the truth to assert," declared the British naval ex- 
pert, Bywater, "that ever since 1921 the United States has been 
attempting, more or less consciously, to dictate the naval 
policy of Great Britain" (A Searchlight on the Navy, p. 159); 
and he continued in the same work, issued in 1934, with refer- 
ence to the London Naval Treaty of 1930, which prolonged 
the Washington Naval Treaty for five years and extended its 

"Happily the treaty expires on December 3ist, 1936. At- 
tempts to promote its renewal, from whatever quarter they 
may be made, should be firmly resisted. Already this coven- 
ant has struck at British sea power a blow from which it 
may never recover." 

(H. c. BYWATER, A Searchlight on the Navy, 1934, p. 217) 

The Naval Treaty was not renewed. Japan denounced it in 
1934, and, on the refusal of its demand for parity, withdrew 


from the London Naval Conference of 1936; the new London 
Naval Treaty of Britain, France and the United States in 1936 
is only a simulacrum of "qualitative" limitation and mutual 
information of building programmes, with no quantitative 
limits. The old naval limitation with fixed totals, maintained 
for fifteen years, expires at the end of 1936; and the British 
Government has already announced its naval rearmament pro- 
gramme, with the laying down of new capital ships in 1937 
the day after the old treaty expires. 

From the outset, also, since the Washington Treaties no op- 
portunity was lost by either British or Japanese statesmen to 
reiterate that, although the Anglo-Japanese Treaty had been 
formally abrogated, its "spirit" remained unchanged. Typical 
of this were the emphatic declarations at the farewell dinner 
to the Japanese Ambassador in London, Baron Hayashi, in 
1925. The Duke of York stated, after referring to the Anglo- 
Japanese Alliance: 

"After that, the opinion of the world was opposed to mil- 
itary alliances, and our alliance with Japan developed into 
a pact embracing the principal countries having interests in 
the Pacific for maintaining peace in that part of the world. 
But the friendship between Great Britain and Japan was 
and remains the foundation upon which depends the peace 
of the Far East." 

(THE DUKE OF YORK, speech on June 3oth, 1925, 

The Times f July ist, 1925) 

The British Foreign Secretary followed this up with an even 
more definite pointer: 

"Though the alliance had given way to a broader under- 
standing, the sentiments which dictated the alliance were as 
fresh to-day as on the day that the treaty was signed. He 
hoped that Japan would recognise that we were loyal, not 
merely to the letter, but to the spirit of their obligations." 

(SIR AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN, speech on June 3oth, 

1925, The Times, July ist, 1925) 

WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 
Similarly in 1928 the Tokio correspondent of The Times re- 

"It is pointed out that, though the Anglo-Japanese Treaty 
has been merged in the wider treaty signed at Washington 
in 1922, its spirit is still alive, as leading statesmen in both 
countries have repeatedly affirmed." 

(Tokio correspondent of The Times, 

November 23rd, 1928) 

Even as late as January 1935, when the Japanese Foreign Min- 
ister, Hirota, in defining Japanese foreign policy, spoke of "co- 
operation between Japan and Great Britain" as a cardinal 
principle, The Times (January 22nd, 1935) noted that "he 
seemed to be thinking of more than mere continuance of 
friendly relations/' 

Thus the Anglo-Japanese co-operation which began in 1894, 
and which existed in formal treaty form until 1921, continued 
in fact unbroken right into the new period opening in 1931. 
This Anglo-Japanese co-operation, which has been in fact the 
counterpart of the basic Anglo-American antagonism, has 
been of cardinal importance for the whole line of develop- 
ment in the Far East up to the present stage. But the new 
situation developing since 1931 has brought new problems. 

With the breakdown of stabilisation the armed struggle for 
domination in the Far East began anew. As soon as the world 
economic crisis had weakened the influence of American im- 
perialism, and had paralysed the Western imperialist Powers 
in their inner difficulties, Japan struck its blow in 1931 and 
began the offensive in Manchuria which was to extend in con- 
tinuous stages during succeeding years to all Northern China 
and to general claims of control over the Chinese Government 
and its policy. During 1931-1932 Japan conquered Manchuria, 
establishing the puppet State of Manchukuo in 1932, and 
carrying through a military attack on Shanghai. In 1933 Japan 
extended its conquests to Jehol, and left the League of Na- 
tions. In April 1934 Japan announced, through an official 
War Office statement, that "the Nine-Power Treaty is dead; 


the United States and European countries which are ignorant 
of real conditions in the Far East should hold aloof from af- 
fairs in China"; and a Foreign Office statement proclaimed a 
general Japanese protectorate over China: 

"To keep peace and order in Eastern Asia we must act 
alone on our own responsibility. . . . There is no country 
but China which is in a position to share with Japan the 
responsibility for the maintenance of peace in Eastern Asia. 
. . . Any joint operations undertaken by foreign Powers, 
even in the name of technical or financial assistance, are 
bound to acquire political significance. . . . Japan must ob- 
ject to such undertakings as a matter of principle." 

(Japanese Foreign Office statement, The Times, 

April 24th, 1934) 

The Japanese Ambassador in Washington further amplified 
the principle of this statement: 

"Japan must act and decide alone what is good for China. 
. . . Business men will find it beneficial to consult Tokio 
before embarking on any adventures in China." 

(H. SAITO, Japanese Ambassador to the United States, 
interview to the Washington Star, 

The Times, April 2grd, 1934) 

In 1935-1936 Japan extended its conquests to Inner Mongolia 
and Northern China, oiganising puppet political forms under 
its control, and developing provocations against Outer Mon- 
golia, as well as bringing the range of its operations directly 
against Soviet China in ShansL In 1936 the new Hirota Min- 
istry, established after the murder-cou^ of the Fascist military 
officers against the older statesmen who had critised the ex- 
treme military policy, proclaimed the Three Point Pro- 
gramme of Japan in relation to China (already announced in 
the negotiations with the Nankin Government in 1935): (i) 
Sino-Japanese co-operation against communism; (2) China to 
have no relations with other countries save with Japanese 

si8 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

consent and under Japanese control; (3) China, Manchukuo 
and Japan to be organised as a single economic bloc. 

What is the attitude of the other imperialist Powers to this 
extending Japanese offensive for the monopolist domination 
of China and the Far East? 

In the early stages of the offensive, Japan received the effect- 
ive support of Britain and France. Britain supported Japan, 
not only in accordance with its general line of playing off 
Japan against the United States, but also as the strongest mil- 
itary force in the Far East against the national revolutionary 
movement in China, and eventually against the Soviet Union. 
The repeated American appeals to Britain for co-operation in 
opposing the open -violation of the Washington Nine-Power 
Treaty during 1931-1932 were all rebuffed (the messages of 
the Washington correspondent of The Times during the peri- 
od give the fuller evidence of this, which subsequent British 
expression has endeavoured to cover up and deny). Sir John 
Simon appeared at Geneva as the special pleader for Japan, 
and actively countered the approaches of the United States 
Secretary of State, Stimson, who also attended at Geneva to 
secure the co-operation of the League with the United States. 
Britain led the way in maintaining the passivity of the League 
of Nations in the face of the open violation of the Covenant, 
as well as in opposing the American appeals for co-operation. 
In the words of Lord Lytton, the Chairman of the League of 
Nations Commission to Manchuria: 

"The United States made overtures which have not been 
reciprocated, and the failure of our Government to back up 
Mr. Stimson is perhaps the most regrettable of all its short- 

(LORD LYTTON, speech at Manchester, May lyth, 1934) 

Similarly Lord Lothian testified to the British rejection of 
American co-operation: 

"I have always thought that the mistake of British policy 
at that time was ... its rejection of Mr. Stimson's offer to 


reverse the isolationist decision of 1920 and act with us in 
support of the collective system in the Pacific. This failure 
on our part to live up to the spirit and the letter of the 
Washington Treaties early in 1932 drove the United States 
back into isolation." 

(LORD LOTHIAN., speech on December i2th, 1934, 

reported in International Affairs, March April 1935) 

This episode was of critical importance for the whole develop- 
ment of Anglo-American relations. 

Even the "Hands Off China" declaration of 1934, which 
aroused sharp antagonism in the United States, was received 
with remarkable equanimity in British official quarters. The 
United States issued an official statement reaffirming the Nine- 
Power Treaty and denying the right of unilateral denuncia- 
tion by any single Power. The British Government, which was 
also signatory to the Nine-Power Treaty, did not associate it- 
self with this statement. Questioned as to the British attitude, 
the Foreign Secretary, Sir John Simon, stated in the House of 
Commons on April 30 th, 1934, that "His Majesty's Govern- 
ment are content to leave this particular question where it is." 

British Conservative and semi-official expression openly 
backed Japan as the champion against the Chinese national 
movement, against the Soviet Union and also against the 
United States. This received emphatic expression in 1934 with 
the sending of the Federation of British Industries Mission 
under Lord Barnby to Manchukuo and Tokio. The banker 
and leading member of this Mission, Sir Charles Seligman, de- 
dared in an interview to the Osaka Mainichi: 

"I can say that practically every thinking Briton is in 
favour of a revival of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance." 

The Financial Times, in an article entitled "Britain Discovers 
Manchukuo" (Britain was pledged by the League of Nations 
decision not to recognise Manchukuo), reported that 

"not wholly irresponsible opinion suggests that the Mis- 
sion is blessed by the Government, that it is the Govern- 

220 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

merit's typically British first step downwards to reality 
where formal recognition of Manchukuo lies, and that such 
recognition may lead to a resumption of something ap- 
proaching the close relations which existed between Japan 
and Great Britain before 1921." 

(Financial Times, August sgth, 1934) 

But difficulties were destined to arise in the path of this line. 
The experience of the Federation of British Industries Mis- 
sion was not a happy one. It became clear that Manchukuo 
was to be effectively closed to all non-Japanese enterprise, in- 
cluding British. The Japanese economic invasion, especially 
in respect to textiles, was pressing British interests hard 
throughout the Far East, in India and even in all the markets 
of the world. An acute trade war developed between Britain 
and Japan; and Britain began to put on heavy duties in its 
colonies against Japanese goods. At the same time it became 
increasingly clear that Japanese aims were not confined to 
Northern China, leaving British interests intact, but were di- 
rected towards suzerainty over the whole of China, as openly 
announced in the 1934 declaration. 

The British line of co-operation with Japan was in fact 
based on the calculation that Japan could act as Britain's 
watchdog in the Far East, while Britain's own possessions and 
interests could remain intact, i.e. that an amicable division of 
spoils could be effected, with Japan conducting its expansion 
in Northern China, and Britain remaining dominant in Cen- 
tral and Southern China, or, alternatively, that Japanese fur- 
ther ambitions of expansion might be diverted against the 
Soviet Union. But while Japan, like Hitler, was ready to use 
the anti-Soviet stalking horse in order to win British support 
for its policies, Japan was fully determined to establish its 
own monopolist control over the whole of China, and by no 
means to remain Britain's instrument. Just as Hitler paraded 
before British reactionary circles as the champion against Bol- 
shevism, not merely for the purpose of ultimate war against 
the Soviet Union, but in order to advance his immediate aims 


of Central European domination, so Japan exploited in the 
same way the British reactionary hatred of the Soviet Union 
in order to advance steadily its strangle-hold on China. 

Even though Britain and Japan may have been able to work 
together, with increasing friction, up to the present point, the 
ultimate aims of Japanese expansion come inevitably into con- 
flict with British domination in the Far East. These ultimate 
aims of expansion are unconcealed, and receive open expres- 
sion in the literature of the dominant military party. They 
received their classic expression in the full "Pan-Asian" form 
in the famous Memorandum of the Prime Minister, General 
Tanaka, to the Emperor in 1927 (whose authenticity has been 
disputed, but never officially denied, and whose detailed con- 
tents have shown a dose correspondence to the policy sub- 
sequently pursued; the general line can be abundantly cor- 
roborated from a host of similar undisputed statements of the 
military party in Japan): 

"In order to conquer China, we must first conquer Man- 
churia and Mongolia. In order to conquer the world, we 
must first conquer China. If we are able to conquer China, 
all the other Asiatic countries and the countries of the 
South Seas will fear us and capitulate before us. The world 
will then understand that Eastern Asia is ours. . . . 

"With all the resources of China at our disposal, we shall 
pass forward to the conquest of India, the Archipelago, 
Asia Minor, Central Asia and even Europe. But the first 
step must be the seizure of control over Manchuria and 
Mongolia. . . . 

"It seems that the inevitability of crossing swords with 
Russia on the fields of Mongolia in order to gain possession 
of the wealth of North Manchuria is part of our programme 
of national development. . . . Sooner or later we shall have 
to fight against Soviet Russia. . . . 

"One day we shall have to fight against America. If we 
wish in future to gain control over China we must crush the 
United States." 

222 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

The fantastic ultimate aims here set out are less important 
than the immediate line of advance, which has been faithfully 
pursued in the enlarging offensive since 1931. It will be seen 
that this line of advance is directed towards, first the seizure 
of Manchuria and Mongolia as the base for the conquest of 
China; second, following the seizure of Mongolia, "inevitable" 
war against the Soviet Union; third, eventual war against the 
United States (and ultimately, by implication, against British 
imperialism) for the domination of all the territories of the 
Western Pacific and Eastern Asia. 

This line necessarily involves ultimate conflict with Britain. 
The inevitability of such future conflict has received expres- 
sion in a recent book of a Japanese writer, Lieutenant-Com- 
mander Tota Ishimaru, entitled Japan Must Fight Britain., 
which declares: 

"England is on the down grade. Japan has started on the 
up grade. The two must come into collision, because Eng- 
land is trying to hold on to what she has, while Japan must 
perforce expand. 

"Territorial resources England has in abundance; she can 
afford to relinquish some. Japan has insufficient, and to her 
they are a matter of life and death. England had better 
swallow her pride, make concessions and avoid a struggle. 
The Empire of the Rising Sun must have full freedom of 
action in Manchuria and China and find open doors and 
open arms in Australia. . . . 

"Should Britain not understand the elementary compon- 
ents of the present problem, Japan would profit by the 
weakening of the British Empire, the apathy of the Domin- 
ions and the weakness and decadence of the British Navy; 
she would suddenly attack that navy when it is scattered 
throughout the seven seas. Australia and New Zealand 
would be the first aims of Japanese conquest. Hong Kong 
would be taken quickly, and India would be helped by an 


Japan Must Fight Britain, 1935) 


Thus a sharp dilemma has arisen for British policy. The 
original betrayal of collective security over the Japanese attack 
on Manchuria is coming home to roost. This dilemma was al- 
ready sharply felt at the time of the Ottawa Imperial Confer- 
ence in 1932, and was expressed in an article of Wickham 
Steed, syndicated to the foreign Press in July 1932: 

"The American people, convinced that armed force will 
be necessary to wipe out Japanese domination in the Far 
East, will demand a heavy increase of the American Navy. 
Leaving out of account the new era of armaments which 
this will open in Europe, the British Government will find 
itself in a terrible dilemma. It will be condemned to choose 
between a large Increase of the British Navy, to maintain 
the famous 'parity' with the United States, or the abandon- 
ment of its naval position in the Pacific, The more the situ- 
ation develops in the direction of an inevitable conflict be- 
tween the United States and Japan, the more cruel this dil- 
emma will become; for, while an increase of naval expend- 
iture will threaten the budget balance, the abandonment of 
the British naval situation in the Far East would compel 
Canada, Australia and New Zealand to look for their secur- 
ity by the side of the United States. 

"It is this issue, I believe, which will be discussed between 
the sessions of the Ottawa Conference, as much as any of the 
questions on the formal agenda. The feeling that we are 
moving to a new world war may drive the Dominions to 
enter into an agreement with Britain on economic and po- 
litical problems." 

(WICKHAM STEED, foreign Press article, re-translated 

from the Brussels, Soir, July 8th, 1932) 

The United States, after the collapse of the Washington 
Treaties, and after the failure of all diplomatic protests 
against the Japanese aggression, is now straining every nerve 
for future struggle with Japan. The calculation of such future 
war is open in the expression of American military experts: 

224 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

"Japan is our most dangerous enemy, and our planes 
should be designed to attack her." 


to the Federal Aviation Commission in October 1934) 

The recent book, Must We Fight in Asia? by Nathaniel Peffer 
(New York, 1935 published in England under the title Japan 
and the Pacific), discusses in detail this "inevitable" war. A 
first blow in the economic field, against both British and 
Japanese interests, was struck by the Silver Purchase Act of 
1934, draining China of silver and disorganising Chinese cur- 
rency. The basic aim of countering the advance of Japan un- 
derlay the recognition of the Soviet Union by the United 
States in the end of 1933: 

"Economically the results of Russian recognition might 
prove disappointing . . . but Russian recognition had an- 
other basis, and a character far different from the economic 
implications here set forth. It represented a counterweight 
to Japanese aggression at Shanghai and in Manchukuo." 

(L. M. SEARS, History of American Foreign Relations, 

second edition, 1935, p. 626) 

The American unconcealed hopes to force forward a Soviet- 
Japanese war, following recognition, were defeated by the 
pacific policy of the Soviet Union. Thus American policy is 
now concentrating on strategic preparations for future war 
with Japan, with considerable suspicion (as recently voiced 
by Senator Borah) that British policy may support Japan by 
a line of benevolent neutrality. The American air routes and 
air bases across the Pacific are being rapidly developed. The 
collapse of the Washington Treaties means that the fortifica- 
tion of naval bases now goes forward unimpeded, and that 
the previous insuperable obstacles to major naval war in the 
Pacific are in process of being removed. 

The Soviet Union stands firmly by the line of its peace 
policy, to resist all aggression, but to give way to no provoca- 


tions to war short of direct aggression. The warning of Stalin's 
interview in March 1936 against any attack on Outer Mon- 
golia, and the subsequent treaty for common defence between 
the Soviet Union and the Outer Mongolian People's Repub- 
lic, have strengthened this stand, and given the Japanese mil- 
itarists reason to think twice before developing their threat- 
ened attack in this quarter. 

In this situation what is to be the alignment of British 
policy? During 1935 Britain still wavered between attempting 
to find a basis of compromise with Japan for the joint spolia- 
tion of China, or attempting to reach an independent basis of 
understanding with the Chinese Nankin Government against 
the monopolist domination of Japan. Proposals of a joint in- 
ternational financial loan to China in the beginning of 1935 
sought to counter the attempted exclusive Japanese domina- 
tion of the Nankin Government and maintain British financi- 
al leadership in China. But these proposals met with a sharp 
* 'Hands Off" warning from Japan. The British Mission, head- 
ed by the Treasury expert, Leith Ross, to Tokio in the au- 
tumn of 1935 met with an unfavourable reception. According 
to the semi-official reports of the conversations in the Japanese 
Press, the conditions put forward by Japan for any form of 
agreement with Britain not only included British recognition 
of Japanese supremacy in China, but also Britain's agreement 
to the "Open Door" for Japanese trade and capital within the 
boundaries of all the British possessions in the Far East and 
even within the British Empire as a whole. The Leith Ross 
Mission then proceeded to Nankin, and organised the Chinese 
currency reform, taking China off the silver standard and 
establishing an unexchangeable paper currency to be backed 
by British credits; this represented a blow against both the 
American silver policy and Japanese domination, and was 
aimed to establish British influence in Nankin against the 
Japanese moves for a general "Sino-Japanese agreement," ie. 
the subordination of the Nankin Government to Japanese 

Two conflicting currents of expression have developed in 
British ruling opinion in the face of the present dilemma in 

WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

the Far East. One tendency, which now begins to come in- 
creasingly to the front, favours temporary Anglo-American co- 
operation against Japan (the view most strongly held by 
Dominions opinion, and typically voiced by General Smuts). 
The other tendency still favours support of Japan as the only 
means of safeguarding British interests, and looks hopefully 
to the possibility of eventual Japanese war on the Soviet 
Union as the ultimate solution. 

The line of co-operation with the United States received 
expression in the speech of General Smuts to the Royal In- 
stitute of International Affairs in November 1934: 

"I would say that to me the future policy and association 
of our great British Commonwealth of Nations lie more 
with the U.S.A. than with any group in the world. If ever 
there comes a parting of the ways, if ever in the crises of 
the future we are called upon to make a choice, that, it 
seems to me, should be the company we should prefer to 
walk with and march with to the unknown future. . . . The 
Dominions have even stronger affiliations towards the U.S.A. 
than Great Britain has. There is a community of outlook, 
of interests and perhaps of ultimate destiny between the 
Dominions and the U.S.A. 

"While, therefore, our Far Eastern policy should, I sub- 
mit, be based on friendship with all, and exclusive alliances 
or understandings with none, the ultimate objectives of 
that policy should continue to conform to that general 
American orientation which has distinguished it since our 
association with the U.S.A. in the Great War." 

(GENERAL SMUTS, speech to the Royal Institute of 

International Affairs, November i2th, 1934) 

Following up this line, Lord Lothian wrote: 

"That the United States and the nations of the British 
Commonwealth will be driven together in resistance to 
Japan, if her leaders adopt the militarist policy, is absolute- 


ly certain. It is only a question of time and of what disasters 
may occur in the meantime." 

(LORD LOTHIAN, article in the Observer, 

November i8th, 1934) 

The alternative arguments, voiced especially on the part 
of British military and naval authorities, for continued co- 
operation with Japan, were expressed by Captain D. M. 
Kennedy in a series of articles on Japanese policy in the Far 
East in the Daily Telegraph in January 1935: 

"There can be little doubt that, whereas Japan can be 
a good friend, she would be a most dangerous enemy. 

"This is particularly true in respect to ourselves; for, in 
in the event of an actual clash, Hong Kong isolated as it 
iswould be liable to become a second Port Arthur or 
Tsingtao, while our handful of troops in Shanghai and 
North China would be cut off from all possible relief. Even 
Singapore would be in none too happy a position. . . . 

"This is not a pleasant prospect, but it is one that would 
have to be faced if we followed the advice of those who urge 
an Anglo-American front against Japan." 

(CAPTAIN D* M. KENNEDY in the Daily Telegraph 

January gist, 1935) 

Similar arguments were presented from the Japanese side by 
the Japanese military writer, Hirata Shinsaku, already in 1933: 

"With the Japanese Navy as an enemy, the British fleet 
will be placed in an inferior position simultaneously in the 
Far East, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic; while with 
the Japanese Navy for an ally it will be absolutely supreme 
in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean with no impairment 
to the security of the British Empire in the Pacific. ... In 
my view a military alliance with Japan is the condition 
precedent to the reconstruction of the British Empire." 
(HIRATA SHINSAKU, Japan Chronicle, 

February 4th, 1933) 

228 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

The dilemma of British policy is the inevitable sequel of 
the betrayal of the line of collective security, the original 
support of Japanese aggression in China in the hope of main- 
taining Japanese partnership in the spoliation of the Far East, 
and the simultaneous hostility to the United States and to the 
Soviet Union. 

The conflicts of imperialism develop in the Far East with 
increasing sharpness, and more and more openly find no 
ultimate outcome save war. At the same time the national 
revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people against all the 
imperialists advances; Soviet China, despite the repeated 
counter-revolutionary offensives with the support of all the 
imperialist Powers, maintains and builds up its strength, ex- 
tending from its base in Szechwan through Central China, and 
more and more clearly shows the way forward for all China; 
the united national revolutionary front of the Chinese people 

As this outcome, on the one hand, of inter-imperialist war, 
and on the other hand of advancing national revolutionary 
liberation of China, comes more and more clearly into view, 
alternative tendencies in the imperialist circles of all three 
countries, in Japan, in Britain and in the United States 
increasingly endeavour to find an illusory "way out" by seek- 
ing to turn the point of the Japanese aggression to be directed 
against the Soviet Union. The militarist-Fascist elements in 
Japan are open in this ultimate aim; and Japan has drawn 
up its military alliance with Nazi Germany in preparation for 
a future attack when the situation in Europe shall appear ripe. 
British reactionary and pro-Fascist circles are no less open in 
their support and encouragement of Japan in such an aim. 
The existence of similar tendencies in the United States, in 
association with the corresponding circles in Britain and 
Japan, was testified by General Graves, the original leader of 
the American army of intervention against the Soviet Union 
in the post-war period: 

"For the prosecution of a war with a first-class Power 
Japan must have financial assistance and supplies. I antici- 


pate Japan will have no difficulty in getting all the aid she 
needs. There are many people in the United States who 
would be glad to assist in the destruction of a communist 
State, and similar sentiments are to be found in England." 
(GENERAL w. s. GRAVES in Current History, 

August 1934) 

To these policies of playing with fire, which find open expres- 
sion in reactionary British and American as well as Japanese 
circles, it will be necessary to return in the next chapter on the 
relations of imperialism and the Soviet Union. 


The Anglo-American antagonism, which has been traced 
partially in reference to the naval issue and the Pacific in the 
previous section, has developed, not only in the Far East, but 
all over the world, and especially in Southern American and 
the British Dominions. To trace the threads of this conflict in 
the South American States, in the Argentine, Brazil and Peru, 
and in the Chaco war of Bolivia and Paraguay, would go far 
beyond the compass of the present book. But the issue of the 
future of the British Empire, the tendencies to economic and 
political disintegration, and the counter-attempts of the British 
ruling dass to draw doser the links and strengthen its hold, 
as well as the growing role of the United States in relation to 
the British Dominions as the expectant heir and potential 
future political centre of the English-speaking world, consti- 
tutes one of the major issues of imperialist conflict in the post- 
war world. 

The British Empire, the largest of the world empires, rep- 
resents in the eyes of the rival imperialist Powers the rich- 
est ultimate prize of the battle for the new division of the 
world. Formally, the British Empire covers 13.3 million square 
miles with 500 millions of population, or rather less than a 
quarter of the earth's surface, and roughly a quarter of the 
world's population. If to this are added the nominally "in- 
dependent" States of Egypt, under British military occupation, 

230 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

and Iraq, under the occupation of the British Air Force, the 
Himalayan States, and the subordinate and closely associated 
Portuguese and Dutch Empires, a total would be reached of 
16 million square miles and 600 millions of population within 
the sphere of influence of British imperialism. 

But the strength of British imperialism is far from corre- 
sponding to the size of its Empire. Of the 500 millions within 
the Empire proper, 360 millions represent the Indian people, 
steadily advancing in the struggle to independence; 430 mil- 
lions in all, or 86 per cent, represent subject colonial peoples 
of non-European race, held under autocratic rule, and in 
varying degrees of revolt. There remain roughly 70 millions 
of the white race, compared with the 1 10 millions white popu- 
lation of the United States. Of these 70 millions, 50 millions 
occupy the British Isles (3 millions constituting the Irish Free 
State, with deep-seated antagonism to British imperialism); 
while 20 millions, occupying the four overseas Dominion 
countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, 
represent partially independent secondary imperialist Powers 
in only limited association with British imperialism. But these 
20 millions, constituting one-hundredth part of the earth's 
population, occupy no less than one-seventh of the earth's 
surface, and maintain a rigidly exclusive policy limiting immi- 
gration from other than British sources, and in practice 
also from British sources (in the thirteen years between 1919 
and 1931 inclusive, the total migration from the United King- 
dom to Empire destinations has numbered 2*4 millions, and 
in the most recent period even this degree of migration has 
temporarily given place to a net surplus of returns to the 
United Kingdom). This contradiction strikes forcibly the im- 
agination of other nations and races outside the Empire. The 
British Dominions contain the principal undeveloped and 
underpopulated territories of the capitalist world. No wonder 
the other imperialist Powers look with longing eyes towards 
these territories, no less than to the rich profits of the exploita- 
tion of the subject colonial peoples of the British Empire. 

We have already seen how Japanese expansionist policy 
looks hopefully to inherit the British territories in the Pacific. 


We shall have occasion to see how Italian Fascism similarly 
dreams of inheriting the British Empire in the Mediterranean 
region, in the Near East and Northern Africa. But alongside 
these the United States has already thrown its eyes on the 
British Dominions and works actively to draw them in its 
orbit. The decline and ultimate demise of the British Empire 
is widely taken for granted as a fact of world politics; and its 
possessions are seen as the richest spoils of the final battle for 
the new division of the world. British imperialism, however, 
is straining every nerve for the struggle to maintain hold of 
its possessions. 

In 1924 Sir Auckland Geddes, addressing a meeting of the 
English-Speaking Union under the presidency of Balfour, and 
with accompanying speeches of Baldwin and others, sounded 
a warning note. "The Dominions," he said, "speak of us as 
the motherland"; but in this expression, and in their attitude 
to Britain, there is an implicit suggestion of "something of 
old age, if not senility." He continued: 

"Those who look out on the Pacific feel that in Wash- 
ington there is an instinctive understanding of their dif- 
ficulties which they have laboriously to explain in Downing 
Street. ... It often happens that when our Dominions 
look to us here, there is no sympathetic answer, no under- 
standing; and they look to Washington and Washington is 
not devoid of eyes and will look back at them/' 

(SIR AUCKLAND GEDDES, address to the English- 
Speaking Union, Manchester Guardian, 

November isth, 1924) 

This note was to be sounded with increasing frequency in 
succeeding years. "Economically and socially Canada may be 
considered as a northern extension of the United States," de- 
dared the United States Department of Commerce Reports, 
No. 44, of 1924. "Serious-minded Australians," affirmed the 
Prime Minister of Australia, Bruce, in 1925, are beginning 
to wonder "whether we are safe in depending solely on the 
British Navy" (The Times, June loth, 1925). Nor was it only 

232 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

a question of the Navy, New financial bonds were being 
forged. In addition to the United States displacing Britain as 
the chief foreign investor in Canada, the first signs of a 
similar penetration into Australia began. In July 1925, Aus- 
tralia, previously financed exclusively from London, drew a 
loan of $100,000,000 from New York; the city agreed "as it 
was not likely that sufficient money would be available in 
London to meet Australian requirements for some time" 
(The Times, July gth, 1925). At the Imperial Conference in 
1926 the Dominions extracted from British capitalism, weak- 
ened by inner social struggle, the famous declaration of 
Dominion Independence, subsequently embodied in the 
Statute of Westminster. At this same conference, the Liberal 
politician, McCurdy, noted in the Contemporary Review for 
December 1926, the Dominions for the first time began to 
question the economic stability of Britain; "Not until the 
present year did it enter their heads to raise so intimate a 
question as the economic stability of Great Britain herself." 
In vain the British Prime Minister, Baldwin, pleaded at this 
conference that Britain had by 1925 lent 850 million to the 
Dominions: "From no other source could such large sums 
have been provided on such favourable terms." In November 
1926 the Australian Prime Minister brutally posed the ques- 
tion of British financial capacity to continue to supply the 
Dominions' needs: 

"If during the next few years it is feared that British 
surplus capital is insufficient for a lending policy on the 
same scale as in the past, let this fact be freely and frankly 

(s, M. BRUCE, Prime Minister of Australia, 

The Times, November lyth, 1926) 

And in the Page Memorial lecture in the same month, he 

"That they in Australia should have a natural sympathy 
in regard to America was not greatly to be wondered at. 


They had similar problems of development, and another 
bond was a similar attitude of mind towards the policy of 
non-intervention with regard to troubles which arose from 
time to time in the over-civilisation of Europe. They felt, 
too, that when America struck the blow for liberty in the 
eighteenth century, she struck a blow for all the Dominions 
to-day, and her success had found expression in their full 
measure of Empire citizenship." 

(s. M. BRUCE, Page Memorial lecture, 

The Times, November isth, 1926) 

In 1927 the American publicist, Frank Simonds, was writing: 

"If the United States should adopt a doctrine in the 
Pacific which was like the Monroe Doctrine and gave our 
guarantee to the status quo, then the last material basis 
for the association of Britain and Australia would dis- 
appear. . . . Looking at the map, it is clear that there is 
every geographical reason why we may one day become the 
centre of the English-speaking world." 

(FRANK H. SIMONDS, in the American Review of 
Reviews, quoted in the British Review of Reviews, 

February March 1927) 

Even as late as 1934, after the British counter-offensive was 
in full swing and the American headlong advance had been 
stayed by the economic crisis, General Smuts could declare in 
his speech in November 1934: 

"The Dominions have even stronger affiliations towards 
the U.SA. than Great Britain has. There is a community 
of outlook, of interests and perhaps of ultimate destiny be- 
tween the Dominions and the U.SA." 

(GENERAL SMUTS., speech to the Royal Institute of 

International Affairs, November i2th, 1934) 

What lay behind this increasing independence of the British 
Dominions from the old British hegemony and orientation 
towards the United States? Behind this process lav the increas- 

WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ing economic disintegration of the British Empire, especially 
in respect of the relations of Britain and the Dominions, with 
an accompanying political disintegration, which marked the 
post-war years. Between 1913 and 1929 the proportion of over- 
seas Empire imports from the United Kingdom fell from 44 
per cent to 34 per cent, and of exports to the United Kingdom 
fell from 42 per cent to 34 per cent. In the same period the 
proportion of overseas Empire imports from the United States 
rose from 22 per cent to 26 per cent. Thus by 1929 the United 
Kingdom held 34 per cent of Empire markets, while the 
United States had risen, despite Empire preferences, to 26 
per cent. This figure was, however, exaggerated by the effects 
of the overwhelming United States dominance in the Cana- 
dian market (68 per cent in 1929 against the British 15 per 
cent). Nevertheless, the American advance and British decline 
in the other Dominions and also India was notable. In 
Australia during the same period the United States advanced 
from 14 per cent of the market to 25 per cent, while Britain 
sank from 52 per cent to 40 per cent; in South Africa the 
United States advanced from 9 per cent to 18 per cent, while 
Britain sank from 57 per cent to 44 per cent; in India the 
United States advanced from 3 per cent to 9 per cent, while 
Britain sank from 65 per cent to 43 per cent. 

At the same time as the overseas Empire was thus moving 
economically away from Britain, Britain was becoming in- 
creasingly dependent on the overseas Empire. The proportion 
of British exports to the Empire (excluding the Irish Free 
State) rose from 32.9 per cent in 1913 to 40.9 per cent for the 
average of 19241929; the proportion of British imports from 
the Empire rose from 24.9 per cent to 30.6 per cent. Britain, 
economically weakening in foreign markets, was becoming 
more and more parasitically dependent on the Empire, while 
the Empire was moving economically away from the British 

The Dominions, which had been originally developed with 
British capital to fulfil the colonial role of agrarian auxiliar- 
ies and sources of raw materials for British industrial capital- 
ism, were now advancing to the position of independent 


industrial capitalist States, although still financially and stra- 
tegically tied to Britain. Between 1912 and 1931 Australian 
manufactures rose in value from 39 million to 106 million, 
or from one-fifth to over one-third of the total production; 
South African manufactures rose from 17 million in 1911 to 
112 million in 1930; Canadian from $1,166 million gross 
value in 1911 to 2,698 million in 1932 (Westminster Bank 
Monthly Review for December 1934). Meanwhile British ex- 
ports of manufactures sank from 411 million in 1913 to 280 
million in 1933. 

Hand in hand with this process of economic disintegration 
went increasing tendencies of political disintegration. Ireland 
had fought for its republican independence in armed struggle 
against the "Black and Tan" terror of British rule, and only 
finally accepted the partition and incomplete independence 
represented by the "Irish Free State" in 1922 under the direct 
threat of full-scale "war" from the British Prime Minister. 
South Africa under Herzog pressed for independence and the 
right of secession. The Australian Prime Minister, as we have 
seen, quoted the American War of Independence as the model 
which had "struck a blow for all the Dominions to-day/' The 
Chanak crisis in 1922 had revealed that the Dominions would 
not necessarily stand with Britain in the event of war. The 
Locarno Pact in 1925 was signed by Britain without the Do- 
minions. At the Imperial Conference in 1926 the Dominions 
united to extract from Britain the declaration of extreme 
Dominion autonomy, expressed in the resolution defining the 
relations of the United Kingdom and the Dominions as "au- 
tonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in 
status, in no way subordinate to one another in any aspect 
of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a 
common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated in 
membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations/' But 
the report of the Committee on Inter-Imperial Relations, 
which contained this definition, hastened to qualify it by 
laying down that "the principles of equality and similarity, 
appropriate to status, do not universally extend to function," 
and that in respect of foreign policy "it was frankly recognised 

236 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

that in this sphere, as in the sphere of defence, the major 
share of responsibility rests now and must for some time 
continue to rest on His Majesty's Government in Great 
Britain." It has also been noted that the Statute of Westmin- 
ster of 1931, which gave legal expression to the decisions 
reached, excludes the Constitutions of the Dominions from 
alteration except under the conditions previously prevailing. 
The British ruling class was not disposed to accept passively 
the tendencies to economic and political disintegration. The 
significance of the 1926 Declaration, exorted under conditions 
of extreme inner difficulty, was minimised in official quarters. 
"It may have its uses for quotation to suspicious nationalists, 
but that is all," was the opinion of The Times editorial of 
November 22nd, 1926, which dismissed the new definition as 
equivalent to no more than a "trifling change" in the title 
of the King. The "Round Table" of March 1927 noted that 
the Dominions had been granted "everything except the right 
of secession." The legal expert of British officialism, Professor 
J. H. Morgan, in an address to the Inns of Court in 1929, 
under the presidency of the Lord Chancellor, objected to the 
"current misuse of the term, 'the sovereignty of the Domin- 
ions/ " and laid down that the 1926 Declaration "certainly 
was not law; it was a political, not a legal act. . . . Dominion 
status had never been defined by the Privy Council" (The 
Westminster Statute of 1931 and the Privy Council decision 
of 1935 on the power of the Irish Free State to abrogate the 
Irish Treaty have since destroyed the validity of this argu- 
ment). He continued: 

"The Dominions were not legally independent sovereign 
States, because they had not an independent right of 
making war. If war were declared by the King on the advice 
of his Ministers in Downing Street, nothing short of a 
declaration of independence could achieve the neutrality 
of the Dominions." 

(PROFESSOR j. H. MORGAN, Rhodes lecture to the 

Inns of Court, The Times, March i6th, 1929) 


American imperialism (as also the Dominions) took a differ- 
ent view of the significance of the 1926 Declaration. As the 
Washington Post announced: 

"The United States must deal separately hereafter with 
the nations of the British Commonwealth." 

(Washington Post, November 22nd, 1926) 

But it was above all in the economic sphere that the British 
imperialists set to work to counter the trends of break-up and 
draw closer the loosening bonds of Empire. The effort towards 
some form of Empire Customs Union had developed since the 
later nineteenth century. 

"In 1896, at a banquet at the Canada Club in London, 
Mr. Chamberlain, then Colonial Secretary, had broached 
the idea of a Zollverein, an inter-Imperial Customs Union. 
Free Trade was to reign within the Empire, and a common 
fiscal policy was to be adopted towards foreign countries. 
This suggestion was, however, rejected by the colonies, who 
for revenue reasons found it impossible to dispense with 
their tariffs." 
(G. DRAGE, The Imperial Organisation of Trade, 191 1, p. 43) 

This effort, despite active propaganda, broke down against the 
inevitable antagonism of interests: on the one side, of the Do- 
minions, which were not content to remain the agrarian ap- 
pendages of British capitalism, but were concerned to develop 
their own independent industries; and, on the other side, to 
the world interests of the still dominant British manufacturers, 
commerce, shipping and finance, with two-thirds of British 
trade outside the Empire, and an elaborate established world 
network, to which the policy of Free Trade still corresponded. 
All that was achieved was the very limited measure of colonial 
preferences; and with respect to the practical value of these 
the Balfour Committee "Survey of Overseas Markets" in 1924 
had reported "the remarkable fact that the main increase of 
tariff rates on British exports has been within the British Em- 

238 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

pire, where the average ad valorem incidence has risen by 
nearly two-thirds, while in foreign countries, despite the great 
increase in the United States tariff, the average ad valorem in- 
cidence has decreased by one-fifth. 

Under the conditions, however, of the increasing weakening 
of British capitalism in the world field in the post-war period, 
and especially in the face of the advancing and successful com- 
petition of American capitalism, a renewed effort was made to 
fall back on the inner lines of privileged markets and sources 
of supply within the Empire and to organise a degree of closer 
Empire economic unity. The dream of a "self-contained Em- 
pire" (or "Empire Free Trade," in the phrase of the Melchett- 
Beaverbrook campaign of the most active Conservative forces 
during this period) could not find any realisation in the world 
of facts, owing to the extremely contradictory conditions. In 
1913 three-fourths of British imports were drawn from out- 
side the Empire, and two-thirds of British exports went out- 
side the Empire; and even by 1929 this proportion had only 
very slightly changed. On the other hand, the total of Empire 
exports could not in respect of many important commodities 
supply British import requirements, the deficiency being espe- 
cially marked in the case of beef, mutton, oats, barley, bacon 
and butter; while in respect of other important commodities 
the total Empire exports could not be absorbed by the total 
British imports and must necessarily fight for entry into for- 
eign markets, the surplus being especially high in the case of 
wheat and wool (see L. St. Clare Grondona, Empire Stock- 
Taking, for detail figures). Finally there could be no question 
of the Dominions surrendering their tariffs against British 
manufacturers. The dream of "Empire Free Trade*' or a "self- 
contained Empire" was thus only a propagandist myth. All 
that could be attempted was to make some partial closer eco- 
nomic adjustments. 

This attempt was made at the Ottawa Empire Economic 
Conference in 1932. Britain registered the demise of its former 
world-monopoly by the abandonment of Free Trade and the 
adoption of a complete tariff system; and saddled itself with a 
heavy network of duties and veiled duties, through quotas, on 


its food supplies in order to win from the Dominions a more- 
favoured entry for its manufactures. The Dominions prefer- 
ences in return were, however, of very limited value, since the 
rates of duty remained high; by 1934 the Federation of British 
Industries Memorandum on Commercial Policy was complain- 
ing that "the Ottawa agreements have proved more beneficial 
to the Dominions than to Great Britain." 

The Ottawa agreements were a weapon of economic war, 
directed principally against the United States, and an attempt 
to counteract the disintegrating tendencies of the Empire. The 
British Prime Minister, Baldwin, stated the issue on the eve 
of the Conference: 

"We were definitely at the parting of the ways. . . . We 
had got either to advance in the direction of closer fiscal re- 
lationships within the Empire, or to drift apart." 

(STANLEY BALDWIN, House of Commons, 

June i6th, 1932) 

The Federation of British Industries openly proclaimed the 
aim to prevent "domination of some foreign economic group" 
over the Dominions: 

"If the nations of the Empire decide, instead of co-opera- 
tion, to stand alone, each one of them must eventually fall 
under the domination of some foreign economic group." 

(Federation of British Industries Memorandum on 

Empire Economic Policy for the Ottawa Conference) 

American opinion no less definitely recognised them as a weap- 
on of war. The House of Representatives majority leader, 
Rainey, proclaimed them "most dangerous to the United 
States." Official American estimates placed the loss involved to 
American trade at goo million dollars (The Times, August 
24th, 1932). 

It is too early to estimate the final effects of the Ottawa 
agreements, which are only one symptom of the gathering eco- 
nomic war of the imperialist blocs. They have had a limited 
success in checking for a period the tendencies to disimegra- 

240 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tion, but very limited, and mainly in the sense of increasing 
the parasitic dependence of Britain on the Empire. The pro- 
portion of British exports to the Empire (excluding the Irish 
Free State) has risen from 32.9 per cent in 1913 and 41.1 per 
cent in 1931 to 41.8 per cent in 1933. The proportion of 
British imports from the Empire has risen from 24.9 per cent 
in 1913 and 28.8 per cent in 1931 to 36.9 per cent in 1933 
(Sir George Schuster, "Empire Trade Before and After Otto- 
wa," Economist Supplement, November 3rd, 1934). Subse- 
quent figures indicate a further continuation of this line. It 
will be seen that the main effect has been to increase the role 
of Britain as a market for the Dominions, but to increase very 
little the weakening hold of Britain on Empire markets. The 
proportion of Empire imports from Britain, which had fallen 
from 44 per cent in 1913 to 34 per cent in 1929, had only risen 
to 36 per cent by 1933. On the other hand, a blow has been 
dealt, for the time being at any rate, to American penetration 
of Empire markets. Between 1931 and 1933 the proportion of 
Canadian imports from the United States fell from 60,6 per 
cent to 54.5 per cent, while British rose from 18.3 to 24,2 per 
cent; of New Zealand imports from 15.8 per cent to 11.4 per 
cent, while British rose from 49 per cent to 51 per cent; of 
Indian imports, from 9.9 per cent to 6.1 per cent, while British 
rose from 36.7 per cent to 41.8 per cent. In this process, how- 
ever, the effects of the economic depression and of currency di- 
visions have probably had more influence than Ottawa. 

This economic struggle is only one aspect of the wider de- 
veloping struggle. The conflict between British and American 
imperialism, and in particular between the dynamic invading 
forces penetrating the British Empire and the counter-offen- 
sive of the weakening British imperialism to maintain and 
strengthen its hold, goes forward ceaselessly in all fields to in- 
creasing intensity with no solution within the conditions of 
imperialism. There is neither an automatic American eco- 
nomic victory (the illusion expressed in Ludwell Denny's 
America Conquers Britain, written as a paean to America's "in- 
evitable" world economic triumph, on the eve of the American 


economic crash, and published in 1930), nor an automatic 
collapse of the British Empire. There is only the certainty of 
increasing conflict, with the possibility of eventual war so long 
as imperialism remains. 


Alongside the gathering extra-European issues, which have 
their centre of conflagration in the Far East, there remains the 
other main area of world-conflict for the new division of the 
world, the area which has its centre in the Fascist revisionist 
offensive in Europe, with the point of the drive to war directed 
to Eastern, Central and South Eastern Europe, and extending, 
across the Mediterranean, in Northern Africa and the Near 
East. The primary leader and organiser of this war offensive 
in Europe is Nazi Germany. The secondary leader, in the 
Mediterranean region, is Fascist Italy. 

The advent of Hitler to power in Germany in 1933 brought 
the Fascist revisionist war offensive to the forefront. In the 
present period this offensive dominates the European situation. 

The revisionist offensive against Versailles in Europe was in 
any case bound to develop, and had already developed in the 
pre-Hitler period. Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria 
were associated in opposition to the provisions of the Peace 
Treaties, against the grouping of France, Poland and the Little 
Entente. In so far as the revisionist movement at that time rep- 
resented the opposition of the weaker, defeated and disarmed 
States to the injustices of Versailles, and France at that time 
was the leader of the most powerful reactionary imperialist 
forces, fighting to maintain the Versailles domination, high 
armaments, and against the Soviet Union, during this period 
the Soviet Union, and similarly Turkey, found themselves fre- 
quently on the same side as the revisionist grouping on a num- 
ber of issues, notably disarmament. The Rapallo Treaty of 
1922 between Germany and Soviet Russia was continued in the 
Berlin Treaty of 1926. At the same time Italy, representing 
the dissatisfied element among the victor Powers, sought, for 

WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

the purpose of its own expansionist aims, to associate itself 
with the revisionist forces. Thus there developed a division of 
forces in Europe in the pre-Hitler period which was widely re- 
garded as a basic new alignment. Such was the thesis of the 
book of V. de Balla, The New Balance of Power in Europe, 
which appeared in 1932, and in which the author defined his 

"The present study is an attempt to describe the forma- 
tion of a new European balance of power with its possible 
consequences of war or peace. Two political groups are rac- 
ing to attain military supremacy. One of these groups seeks 
to maintain the political structure of Europe; the other 
strives to change it." 

(v. DE BALLA, Preface to The New Balance of Power 

in Europe, 1932) 

This general definition of the gathering new conflict of im- 
perialism in Europe was not incorrect. But the attempt to de- 
fine specifically the two camps was less successful. In the revi- 
sionist camp the author placed, not only Germany, Italy, Hun- 
gary and Bulgaria, but also the Soviet Union and Turkey. In 
the alternative camp the author placed France, Poland, Czech- 
oslovakia, Rumania and Jugoslavia. The events of subsequent 
years were to show the shortcomings of this analysis. 

It is manifest that under the conditions of imperialism the 
issue of revision raises sooner or later the issue of war. There 
has never been a peaceful revision of treaties in respect of any 
major issue affecting the territorial frontiers of the Powers. 
The nearest approach to an exception has been the peaceful 
dissolution of the union of Sweden and Norway in 1905; but 
here no Power-relations were affected. The League of Nations 
Covenant contains formal provision for the revision of trea- 
ties; but, as noted in Chapter V, that clause has remained a 
dead-letter, and attempts to operate it have been in practice 
dismissed without a hearing. As Tardieu on behalf of French 
imperialism openly declared in 1930: 


"If a programme of revision were placed on the agenda of 
an international conference with some prospect of success, 
within two months we should have world war." 

(TARDIEU in the French Chamber of Deputies, 

November i4th, 1930) 

The prospects of peaceful revision within the conditions of im- 
perialism are not promising. The existing injustices and forms 
of national oppression under the peace treaties will only finally 
find their solution, if they are not to be made the issue of war, 
in a deeper social and political transformation. 

For this reason it is necessary to distinguish sharply in deal- 
ing with the question of "revision" under present conditions. 
The plea for revision may be in itself a peaceful and justified 
plea against the manifest injustices of existing treaties. But so 
soon as the issue of revision becomes the basis of an imperialist 
grouping, it takes on an entirely different character as the open 
challenge to war for a new division of territories, not with any 
ideal aim of removing injustices, but with the aim of new con- 
quests and spoliations to turn the existing balance the other 
way round. 

This is the character of the Fascist revisionist war offensive, 
and this is the significance of the role of Fascism as the leader 
of the revisionist campaign. Revisionism is the banner under 
which Fascism pursues its expansionist war aims. 

Italian Fascism had already significantly demonstrated this 
r61e before the advent of Hitler. The Italian claims to expan- 
sion, registered in the London Treaty of Britain, France and 
Italy in 1915 (although circumvented in respect of Asia Minor 
by the British-French Sykes-Picot agreement behind Italy's 
back in 1916), had been in great part thwarted by the domi- 
nant Powers at the Peace Conference. As later in Germany, so 
in Italy, Fascism developed first in these countries, as the weap- 
on of the bourgeoisie in a weakened imperialist country, not 
only against the working-class revolution, but also in order to 
pursue its offensive war aims against the other Powers, the in- 
ternal and external roles of Fascism being in fact dosely re- 

244 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

For a number of years previous to Hitler's coming to power 
Italian Fascism had actively voiced the revisionist claims. In 
his speech to the Senate on June 5th, 1928, Mussolini called 
specifically for the revision of Versailles; and again in his 
speech at Naples on October 25th, 1931, he attacked the "terri- 
torial absurdities" of the post-war settlement: "It is impossible 
to talk about the reconstruction of Europe if certain clauses 
of the Peace Treaties . . . are not changed." Needless to say, 
in thus demanding, in a manner of high statesmanship, the re- 
vision of the "territorial absurdities" of the post-war settle- 
ments, Mussolini did not add that he had no intention of sur- 
rendering the non-Italian population of South Tyrol, secured 
to Italy by the Treaty of St. Germain, but that he was only 
concerned to secure a free path for Italian expansionist aims 
in the Balkans, in Africa and in Asia Minor. 

But it was not until the effects of the world economic crisis 
had developed, and Hitler had come to power in Germany, 
that the road was open for the revisionist war offensive of Fas- 
cism to enter on the path of action. An attempt to reach a com- 
bined foreign policy of the two leading Fascist war dictator- 
ships was made at the Venice meeting of Hitler and Mussolini 
in June 1934; but this attempt broke down over the antagon- 
ism for the control of Austria. Italy built up its bloc on the 
basis of a close alliance with Austria and Hungary (embodied 
in the Rome Pact of the three countries in March 1934, and 
further strengthened in the second Rome Pact of March 1936). 
Germany was not ready for action until a heavy process of re- 
armament, throwing off the military shackles of Versailles, 
could be completed. Thus it was Italy that first went into ac- 
tion with the launching of the war on Abyssinia in 1935. The 
Fascist war offensive had begun. 

The Italian side of the Fascist war offensive came into con- 
flict with the interests of British imperialism. British policy 
had given a considerable measure of support to the Fascist re- 
visionist offensive, assisting diplomatically and materially the 
process of German re-armament, both as a means to counter 
French hegemony in Europe, and also with the ultimate aim, 
on the part of powerful reactionary sections, to encourage the 


Nazi plans of aggression in Eastern Europe against the Soviet 
Union. This dangerous policy now produced its first boomer- 
ang effect. For the Fascist war offensive first broke out in a 
quarter highly inconvenient to the interests of British im- 

The possibility of the Italian conquest of Abyssinia was not 
in itself looked upon as undesirable from the standpoint of 
British interests. As the Maffey Inter-Departmental Commit- 
tee Report in June 1935 made clear, such a conquest might be 
"a boon" in peace conditions, though "a menace" in wartime. 
Even the special British interests in Lake Tana and the basin 
of the Nile could be secured by a joint spoliation if Britain 
obtained the dominant position in Northern Abyssinia. 

"Whereas in case of war between Great Britain and Italy 
an efficient Italian control over Abyssinia would be a menace 
to neighbouring British possessions, it would be a boon in 
normal everyday administration. . . . 

"The principal British interest in Abyssinia is constituted 
by Lake Tana and the basin of the Nile. . . . Should Abys- 
sinia disappear as an independent State the British Govern- 
ment should try to obtain territorial control over a corridor 
joining it with the Sudan/' 

(Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee pre- 
sided over by Sir John Maffey, Permanent Under- 
secretary of the Colonial Office, June 1935, published 
in the Giornale d 9 Italia, February igth, 1936, and re- 
printed in The Times, February soth, 1936) 

Thus a settlement by joint spoliation was not impossible, so 
far as local interests were concerned. But it was the wider 
strategic interests involved, the "menace in case of war," and 
the wider aims of the Italian offensive, that raised the prob- 
lem. Control of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea repre- 
sented for Britain its vital line of communication with its Em- 
pire in Africa, the Near and Middle East, India and Australia. 
An Italian dominance in the region of the Red Sea, on the 
basis of control of a solid block of Eritrea, Abyssinia and So- 

246 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

maliland, as well as of Yemen on the other shore, meant not 
only a deadly peril to that line of communication, but was also 
regarded as the starting-point for an ultimate converging at- 
tack, from Libya on the west and Abyssinia on the south, for 
the conquest of the Sudan and Egypt. For there was no doubt 
of the ultimate plans of Italian imperialism. As one of the lead- 
ing and far from alarmist organs of British imperialism stated: 

"There is some reason for thinking that Signor Mussolini 
has long been convinced that the only way in which Italy 
would meet her essential needs for outlets for her population, 
and for markets and raw materials, was at the expense of the 
British Empire. It is said that his idea was to build a fleet 
that would end the British naval preponderance in the Med- 
iterranean; to annex Abyssinia, partly in order to settle Ital- 
ians there, partly as a market and a source of raw materials, 
but partly in order to create a formidable army of black janis- 
saries; and then, after building railways and aerodromes and 
roads in Libya leading to the Egyptian and Sudanese fron- 
tiers, to take the first opportunity created by an international 
crisis to seize the Sudan and Egypt and all British possessions 
in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is also alleged that, like 
many continental dictators before him, Signor Mussolini had 
come to the conclusion that Great Britain and the Dominions 
were 'pacifist* and effete, and that the British Common- 
wealth was a 'stranded whale' from which blubber could be 
cut with impunity/' 

(The Round Table, December 1935) 

This was the aspect of the Italian offensive which brought 
British imperialism into action. In contrast to the previous 
passivity in the face of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, 
and in contrast to the previous line of continuous minimising 
of the League of Nations Covenant and of the whole concep- 
tion of collective security (as in the classic Balfour declara- 
tion of 1925, and illustrated again as late as November 1934, 
in the Baldwin declaration that "a collective peace system is 
perfectly impracticable" and "hardly worth considering"), 


British policy now sought to make a sudden turn and to utilise 
the Covenant in order to mobilise the support of other coun- 
tries against Italy, while at the same time continuously mak- 
ing offers to Italy for a settlement of partial spoliation, in de- 
fiance of the Covenant, at the expense of Abyssinia. 

But this two-faced policy only ended in the paralysis of 
effective resistance to the Italian aggression. The belated and 
half-hearted attempts to invoke the Covenant broke against, 
not only the pledges of partition to which both Britain and 
France were committed to Italy, but still more against the gen- 
eral policy of support of the Fascist revisionist offensive which 
Britain was pursuing in the wider international field. In the 
face of British support of Nazi Germany, France had made up 
its differences with Italy and concluded the Franco-Italian 
Rome Agreement in January 1935, leaving Italy a free hand 
in its colonial expansion aims in Africa. France was, accord- 
ingly, not prepared to take any effective action against Italy, 
unless Britain could give France a definite pledge of a parallel 
stand against any aggression of Nazi Germany in Europe. Just 
this pledge Britain was not prepared to give. Every insistent 
question from France met with an evasive answer, as in the 
British Note of September 1935, insisting on "elasticity" in the 
interpretation of the Covenant in such a case: 

"In the case of a resort to force, it is dear that there may 
be degrees of culpability and degrees of aggression, and that 
consequently in cases where Article 16 applies, the nature 
of the action appropriate to be taken under it may vary 
according to the circumstances of each particular case. . . 
Elasticity is a part of security . . . the world is not static." 
(British Note of September 26th, 1935, in reply to the 
French Inquiry of September loth, 1935, as to the 
British attitude with regard to collective action in 
the case of aggression in Europe) 

Thus Britain refused to give France any guarantee of a collec- 
tive stand against German Nazi aggression in Europe. So long 
as this was not forthcoming, France preferred to make sure of 
the support of Italy, and in practice impeded the demand for 

248 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

a collective stand against the Italian Fascist aggression in 
Africa. In this way, on the basis of the British-French antago- 
nism, and, in particular, of the British support of Nazi Ger- 
many, as well as of the general imperialist entanglement with 
the aims of Italian expansion and fears of weakening the Fas- 
cist regime in Italy, the policy of collective security broke down 
in practice before the Fascist war offensive, which carried its 
slaughter and destruction among the Abyssinian people, unim- 
peded by the very weak and partial economic sanctions. 

The unchecked success of the Italian war on Abyssinia dealt 
a heavy blow, not only to the League of Nations whose impo- 
tence was once again demonstrated, but also to British imperi- 
alism, which had been actively concerned in the issue, but 
which had been paralysed by the contradictions of its own pol- 
icy, and had only encouraged Abyssinian resistance without 
giving any effective assistance to Abyssinia (even the ban on 
arms to Abyssinia had been maintained, in defiance of the 
1930 Treaty, until after the outbreak of war; a ban on finan- 
cial assistance to Abyssinia was maintained throughout, despite 
many appeals). The outcome still further increased the dilem- 
mas of British policy. Although Mussolini, after the establish- 
ment of Italian power at Addis Ababa, announced (in an 
interview to the Daily Mail) that Italy could henceforth be 
reckoned among the "satisfied" Powers, and had no further 
ambitions, such assurances familiar in the technique of Fa- 
scist, and indeed of all imperialist, diplomacy could deceive 
none. It was manifest that Italian aims of expansion were only 
whetted by the absence of resistance to the Abyssinian aggres- 
sion, and were being pushed actively forward, both in relation 
to the Balkans and ultimately in relation to the existing British 
interests and possessions in the Mediterranean. Once again the 
betrayal of collective security was coming home to roost. 

The international negotiations and manoeuvres which had 
accompanied the Italian war on Abyssinia, and especially the 
sharp interchanges of Britain and France, no less than the 
Rhineland crisis which broke out in the spring of 1936, tak- 
ing advantage of the situation created by the Italo-Abyssinian 
war, made abundantly clear that the major issue dominating 


the international political situation was not the Italian war 
on Abyssinia, but the question of Nazi Germany. This was the 
decisive issue governing alike the policies of Britain and of 
France. Italy, which for thirteen years of the Fascist regime, 
despite all its warlike boasts, had been compelled to play a 
small role in the international field, confining its outburst to 
minor bullying escapades like the bombardment of Corfu, had 
only now been able to break loose and enter on a full war of 
conquest, because the whole international situation had been 
thrown into confusion by the advance of Nazi Germany. The 
Italian war on Abyssinia was in fact only the prelude of the 
Fascist war offensive. The real heart and centre of the Fascist 
war of offensive, more and more visibly dominating the whole 
European situation in the present period, is Nazi Germany. 


The advent of Hitler to power in Germany in 1933 trans- 
formed the international political situation. Internationally, it 
meant the domination of the most savage and decadent class- 
dictatorship of reaction known to history, the open enemy of 
all culture, controlling the levers of the technically most highly 
developed and powerful capitalist country outside the United 
States. Externally, it meant the open drive to war for uncon- 
cealed aims of aggression and territorial expansion, so soon as 
the necessary rearmament and diplomatic preparations were 
complete, on the part of this new type of "totalitarian" imper- 
ialist State which outstripped every previous imperialist model 
in working to organise the entire population, economy and 
ideology as a single, co-ordinated and disciplined war-machine. 
The crimes and illusions of the earlier post-war period, of 
Versailles on the one hand, and of the social democratic poli- 
cies on the other, had reaped their dragons' crop. 

The aggressive, expansionist aims of Nazi Germany are open 
and unconcealed. They follow from the whole character of 
German "National Socialism" or Fascism as the scientifically 
worked out instrument of the most imperialist, chauvinist and 
reactionary elements of German finance-capital, and of its lead- 

250 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ing military organ, the General Staff, fighting, not only to 

crush the inner revolutionary movement of socialism, but to 

reverse the outcome of the war of 1914-1918, to establish 

German military hegemony in Europe and ultimately on a 

world scale, and thus to win adequate scope for German 


These aims are set out with basic clearness in the bible of 
German Fascism, and the only authoritative exposition of its 
doctrine, Hitler's Mein Kampf ("My Struggle" it is to be 
noted that the English version issued under this title, with the 
permission of the German Government, is a considerably abbre- 
viated version, omitting many of the most significant bellicose 
passages, still circulated in Germany! there exists a complete 
French translation, under the title, Mon Combat, against 
which German attempts were made in vain, through the 
French law courts, to secure its suppression). Since attempts 
are made to-day by Nazi propaganda to confuse the innocent 
outside Germany by suggestions that Mein Kampf has been 
rendered "out of date" by the subsequent "peace speeches" of 
Hitler in power, it is necessary to recognize, first, that Mein 
Kampf continues to be circulated under Government auspices 
in millions of copies in Germany as the official and authorita- 
tive exposition of the ruling Nazi doctrine, to be learnt and 
studied by every inhabitant 1 ; second, that direct requests and 
challenges from the heads of neighbouring States (as in the 
presidential speech of Molotov at the Seventh Ail-Union Soviet 
Congress in 1935, an( * * n t^ 6 speech of the French Premier, 
Flandin, on March sgth, 1936) to repudiate directly the ex- 
pression of open expansionist aims contained therein have 
been met so far with continuous refusal to repudiate them; 
and third, that the method of deliberate propogandist decep- 

1 Compare the official circular issued by Dr. Rust, Prussian Minister of 
Education, and subsequently Reich Minister of Education, immediately 
after the installation of the Nazi regime in March 1933: 

"I ask the school authorities to take special care for the provision of 
the schools with suitable books. First place has, of course, to be given 
to the Leader's Mein Kampf. There must soon be not a single boy or 
girl who has not read this work, and it is the task of every teacher to 
elevate the spirit of true National Socialism as it is embodied in Mein 
Kampf as the guiding principle of his teaching." 


tion, as by "peace speeches" before the time is ripe for the 
attack, is recognized and extolled in Nazi doctrine as a legiti- 
mate and necessary weapon (plentiful examples of this method 
of Hitler's diplomacy are already available, as in the original 
solemn pledge "voluntarily" to accept and maintain Locarno, 
and the subsequent repudiation; the declaration after the Saar 
vote that no further question affecting the frontiers remained 
between France and Germany, and the subsequent coup to 
re-militarise the Rhineland; or the concealment and misinfor- 
mation with regard to the Air Force, which, according to 
Baldwin's subsequent confession, completely "misled" the 
British National Government). 1 Mein Kampf remains the 
official and, up to the time of writing, unrepudiated statement 
of policy of the present ruling dictatorship of Germany. 

What, then, are the teachings of Mein Kampf with regard 
to the aims of the foreign policy of the Nazi dictatorship? We 
leave out of account here the general reactionary rubbish, 
racial megalomania, pogrom-incitements against Jews, Czechs, 
Poles, Slavs, the "bastardised" "negroid" French, and similar 
"inferior races," and confine attention to the specific state- 
ments of aims of foreign policy. All quotations are taken from 
the 1936 edition of Mein Kampf (i^jist edition), as officially 
circulated in Germany at the time of writing. 

First, war is held forward as the ideal for the human race, 
peace as ruin: 

"In eternal warfare mankind has become great in eternal 
peace mankind would be ruined" (p. 149). 

x The general principle is expressed in the book of Colonel Hierl, one 
of the leading military authorities of the Nazi regime, entitled Founda- 
tions of German War Politics: 

"There are two kinds of pacifism: the true pacifism which is a pro- 
duct of timidity, and the false which is a recognised political weapon, 
indispensable to any preparation of war. This lulls the adversary by 
peaceful professions and thus tempts him to neglect his armed defences. 
The potential foe is thereby enveloped in a smoke-screen of verbiage 
which serves the further purpose of concealing our own armaments." 
This technique of "pacifism** is familiar to all imperialism; but like all 
the other technical methods of imperialism, it has been carried to a very 
highly developed point by the Nazi regime. 

252 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Second, the aim of every alliance must be war: 

"An alliance whose aim does not include the intention of 
war is senseless and worthless" (p. 749). 

Third, the central principle of German foreign policy, its 
"political testament/' must be to strike down every other mili- 
tary Power in Europe: 

"The political testament to the German nation for its 
external activity will and must always proclaim: Never per- 
mit two continental Powers to arise in Europe. In every 
attempt to organise a second military Power on the German 
frontier, even though it be only by the formation of a State 
capable of becoming a military Power, you must see an 
attack on Germany, and you must consider it not only your 
right, but your duty, to prevent such a State coming into 
existence by all possible means, including the use of force 
of arms, and if such a State has already come into being, 
it must once again be shattered" (p. 754). 

Fourth, the aims of the revisionist offensive, for the re-con- 
quest of Germany's "lost territories," can only be achieved by 

"It is necessary to understand clearly that the re-conquest 
of the lost territories cannot be achieved by solemn appeals 
to Almighty God or pious hopes in a League of Nations, but 
only by armed force" (p. 708). 

"Suppressed provinces are not led back into the lap of an 
empire by flaming protests, but through a well-sharpened 
sword. To forge this sword is the object of a people's 
domestic policy; to see that this process of forging is carried 
out in security and to seek allies in arms is the object of its 
foreign policy" (p. 689). 

Fifth, the central aim of German foreign policy must be the 
conquest of territory: 


"In contrast to the attitude of the representatives of that 
period (the pre-war period), we must return to the recogni- 
tion of the above standpoint for all our foreign policy: 
namely, to bring our territory into harmony with the num- 
bers of our people . . . land and territory as the aim of our 
foreign policy" (p. 735). 

Sixth, the aim of the revisionist offensive cannot be confined 
to the re-conquest of the frontiers of 1914, which are insuffici- 
ent alike from a racial and from a military-geographical point 
of view: 

"The demand for the restoration of the frontiers of 1914 
is a political lunacy. . . . The frontiers of the Reich in 
1914 were anything but logical. They were in reality neither 
complete, as regards the unification of people of German 
nationality, nor reasonable in respect of their military- 
geographical suitability. . . . The frontiers of 1914 mean 
for the future of the German nation nothing whatever" (pp. 

Seventh, the aim of German foreign policy for the conquest 
of new territory must be directed especially to Eastern Europe, 
to conquer territory from the States of Eastern Europe, and in 
particular from the Soviet Union and from the border States. 

"For Germany the only possibility for the carrying out of 
a sound territorial policy lay in the winning of new land 
in Europe itself. , . . When one would have new territory 
and land in Europe, this could in general only happen at 
the cost of Russia" (pp. 153-154). 

"We stop the eternal march to the south and west of 
Europe and turn our eyes towards the land in the East. . , . 
If we speak of land in Europe to-day we can only think in 
the first instance of Russia and the border States under her 
influence. Fate itself seems here to point the way forward 
for us. ... The giant State in the East is ripe for collapse" 
(P- 743)- 

254 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

"The future aim of our foreign policy must be neither a 
Western nor an Eastern orientation, but an Eastern policy 
in the sense of the conquest of the necessary homestead 
for our German people" (p. 757). 

Eighth, in order to realise these expansionist aims, Ger- 
many should strive to build up an alliance with Britain and 
Italy, so as to break the Entente, isolate the "mortal enemy," 
France, and secure strategical freedom of movement, since at 
the present stage there cannot yet be question of challenging 
Britain as a world Power: 

"England does not want Germany as a world Power, 
France does not want Germany as a Power at all. An 
important difference. At the present day we are not fighting 
for the position of a world Power, but for the existence of 
our country, the unity of our nation and bread for our 
children. If we look from this standpoint for allies in Europe, 
there are only two States, England and Italy" (p. 699). 

"Such an alliance (with England and Italy) would give 
Germany the possibility to carry forward undisturbed the 
preparations which must be carried forward in order, from 
within such a coalition, in one way or another, to reach a 
final reckoning with France. For the significance of such 
an alliance lies precisely in this, that Germany is thereby not 
at the mercy of a sudden invasion, but that the opposing 
alliance is broken, the Entente, which has caused us so much 
misfortune, is dissolved, and thereby the mortal enemy of 
our nation, France, is condemned to isolation. Even if such 
a success produced at first only a moral effect, it would suffice 
to secure for Germany a hitherto inconceivable freedom of 
movement. The effective initiative would lie in the hands of 
the new European English-German-Italian alliance, and no 
longer with France. The further consequence would be that 
at a stroke Germany would be freed from its unfavourable 
strategic position. The powerful protection of its flank on 
one side, and the full assurance of supplies of foodstuffs and 


raw materials on the other, would be the splendid result 
of this new configuration of States" (pp. 755-756). 

Ninth, the final aim, described in the "Conclusion" ap- 
pended to the book, is German world hegemony: 

"Germany must of necessity win the place in the world 
that befits it, if it is led and organised according to these 
same (Nazi) principles. 

"A State, which in the age of racial poisoning devotes 
itself to the fostering of its best racial elements, must one 
day become the lord of the earth" (p. 785). 

This is the systematic exposition of Hitler's aims. Nothing is 
lacking here in clearness. No such open expression of aims of 
aggression and expansion at the expense of its neighbours has 
been made by any State in modern times, through the mouth 
of its supreme ruler. There is no excuse for uncertainty on the 
part of any State or people in Europe as to the German Nazi 
intentions. Indeed, in so far as any of the neighbouring States 
have shown a tendency to fall into line with Nazi Germany, 
as to some extent Poland, and to a lesser extent Holland and 
Denmark, there is evidence to show that they have only done 
this through fear and despair of the possibility of resistance. 
And this is the paladin whose utterances are to-day applauded 
by British bishops and archbishops and noble lords even at 
the same time as his basic aim is clearly explained to pay court 
to Britain in order to isolate Britain and France, to secure 
strategical freedom of movement, and ultimately, after win- 
ning domination in Europe, to advance to world hegemony, 
that is, to wrest from Britain its colonial empire. 

The German Nazi dictatorship's aims are directed to expan- 
sion first, at the expense of the smaller States in Europe; sec- 
ond, and with especial emphasis, at the expense of the Soviet 
Union; third, to strike down the military power of France; 
and fourth and last, to win world hegemony from Britain 
(after in the initial stages paying court to Britain in order to 

256 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

isolate Britain from France and from the general system of 
European collective security). 

These aims are further set out with additional clearness in 
the subsidiary writings of the German Nazi rulers, as well as 
in the programme statements. In the official programme com- 
mentary the original theorist of German "National Socialism," 
Feder, set out the aim: 

"All people of German blood, whether they live under 
Danish, Polish, Czech, Italian or French rule, must be unit- 
ed in the German Reich. . . . We will not renounce a single 
German in Sudeten, in Alsace-Lorraine, in Poland, in the 
League of Nations colony Austria, or in the succession States 
of old Austria." 

(GOTHFRIED FEDER, Das Programm der N.S.D.A.P., p42) 
Similarly the Nazi Political ABC declares: 

"The Third Empire is to be a future Christian-German 
Empire, which will be the successor of the German Empire 
of the Middle Ages and of the Imperial Empire of Bismarck, 
and which is to bring about the unification of all Germans 
living in Central Europe." 

(National-Socialist Political A B C, p. 26) 

The aims are set out with further completeness in the writ- 
ings of the Nazi foreign "expert," Alfred Rosenberg, Director 
of the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Nazi Party, especially in 
his Der Mythus des Zwanzigstens Jahrhunderts ("The Gospel 
of the Twentieth Century") and Der Zukunftsweg einer deut- 
schen Aussenpolitik ("The Future Path of a German Foreign 
Policy"). Rosenberg writes: 

"Racial honour demands territory and enough of it. ... 
In such a struggle there can be no consideration for worth- 
less Poles, Czechs, etc. Ground must be cleared for German 

(ALFRED ROSENBERG,, Der Mythus des 20 Jahrhunderts) 


And again: 

"A Nordic Europe is the solution of the future, together 
with a German Mitteleuropa. Germany as a racial and na- 
tional State from Strassburg to Memel, from Eupen to 
Prague and Laibach, as the central Power of the Continent, 
as a guarantee for the south and southeast. The Scandinavian 
States and Finland as a second alliance to guarantee the 
north-east; and Great Britain as a guarantee in the west and 
overseas necessary in the interest of the Nordic race." 

(Ibid., p. 602) 

How does Nazi policy propose to realise these aims? The 
method is set out with extreme clearness, and involves: (i) 
division of the other Powers in Europe, utilising British sup- 
port to paralyse France; (2) the organisation of subsidiary 
Nazi movements in all the States bordering on Germany, and 
utilisation of terrorist methods, including assassination, against 
political leaders opposing the Nazi aims (as already exempli- 
fied in the murders of Chancellor Dollfuss of Austria, King 
Alexander of Yugoslavia, Premier Duca of Rumania and the 
French Foreign Minister, Barthou, all active organisers of re- 
sistance to Nazi aggression and removed by Fascist gangs in 
close association with Berlin); (3) the preparation of war, to be 
launched as soon as the necessary process of rearmament is 
complete and the international situation is ripe. This policy 
requires as the indispensable condition of success the destruc- 
tion of the existing system of collective security in Europe. 

Towards the realisation of these aims the whole foreign 
policy is directed and has been continuously carried forward. 
This underlies the continual denunciations of the whole con- 
ception of collective security, the refusal of the Eastern Security 
Pact, the denunciation of the Franco-Soviet Pact, and the proc- 
lamation of the principle of the "localisation of war." Reveal- 
ing in this respect was Hitler's speech of May 2ist, 1935, which 
denounced the 

258 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

"mania for collective co-operation, collective security, col- 
lective obligations and so forth," 

and proclaimed the alternative principle of localised war: 

"Such a catastrophe can arise all the more easily when the 
possibility of localising smaller conflicts has been steadily 
diminished by an international network of intersecting ob- 
ligations, and the danger that numerous States will be 
dragged into the struggle becomes all the greater. . . . 

"It did not lie in their power to prevent inter-State con- 
flicts, especially in the East. It was infinitely difficult in such 
a case to determine the guilty party. ... It would be more 
serviceable to the cause of peace if the other nations were to 
withdraw at once from both parties at the outbreak of such 
a conflict rather than allow themselves to be involved by 
treaty from the outset. . , . Germany to-day was a National 
Socialist State governed by an ideology diametrically op- 
posed to that of Soviet Russia." 

(HITLER, speech to the Reichstag, May 2ist, 1935) 

What this conception of the "localisation of war/* thus prop- 
agated by German Fascism, means in practice is sufficiently 
clear. For the significant feature of the bilateral non-aggres- 
sion pacts favoured by Hitler, as instanced in the German- 
Polish Pact and in the similar pacts offered to the other States 
on the eastern and southern borders of Germany, is that they 
include no clause to suspend their validity in the event of ag- 
gression by either signatory against a third party. In other 
words, these "non-aggression pacts/* put forward by Nazi 
policy as the alternative to mutual guarantee pacts for Central 
and Eastern Europe, are by this principle not pacts for the 
maintenance of peace, but pacts to immobilise and paralyse 
collective defence against aggression and enable Nazi Germany 
to devour its victims one at a time. Concretely, if Germany 
were to attach Lithuania, or Austria, or Czechoslovakia, as 
the case might be, the other States should immediately, in Hit- 
ler's words, "withdraw at once from both parties at the out- 


break of such a conflict," i.e. leave Nazi Germany and Lithu- 
ania to fight it out by themselves in a fair and equal contest. 
When one victim has been successfully devoured according to 
these principles, the Nazi dictatorship may then move on to 
the next, and so to Hungary, to Yugoslavia or Rumania, ac- 
cording to the situation, and eventually to the West, or altern- 
atively, after preliminary strengthening in Central Europe, to 
the promised crusade against the Soviet Union for the con- 
quest of "new land and territory." This is the Fascist princi- 
ple of the "localisation of war." 

The Hitler "Peace Plan" of March gist, 1936, put forward 
after the denunciation of Locarno, has fully carried forward 
these principles. By the text of this proposal security guaran- 
tees were offered in the West, only to be refused on the South 
and in the East. In other words, non-aggression pacts were 
recognised as suitable enough for Britain and France; but non- 
aggression pacts were regarded as eminently suitable for Aus- 
tria, Czecho-Slovakia or Lithuania. Why the distinction? If 
non-aggression pacts are regarded as a sufficient guarantee of 
peace for Southern and Eastern Europeans, what need of spe- 
cial guarantees of mutual assistance in the West? If, on the 
contrary, all promises of peace and non-aggression in the West 
are regarded as empty paper unless backed by binding obliga- 
tions of mutual assistance, why does the same logic lose its 
validity east of the Rhine? There is no escaping the conclusion 
to which this plan clearly pointed. The binding guarantees in 
the West are necessary at the present stage of Nazi policy in 
order to paralyse France from coming to the aid of the other 
nations in Europe or fulfilling the Franco-Soviet Pact; the bi- 
lateral non-aggression pacts are advocated in the South and the 
East in order to immobilise these States from any common de- 
fence, while the Nazi dictatorship may strike down each vic- 
tim at leisure. The plan thus revealed itself in fact as unmis- 
takably a strategic General Staff plan for future war, dressed 
up for external consumption, and especially for the benefit of 
the British public, as a "peace plan" (and unfortunately ac- 
cepted as such by many sections in Britain, not only by the 
openly pro-Fascist elements, but also by some pacifist elements 

260 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

still blind to the realities of the present situation in Europe). 

Guarantees in the West in order to obtain a free hand in 
Central and Eastern Europe this has been the continuous 
line of German foreign policy in the present stage (although 
this does not exclude the possibility of a sudden attack in the 
West). The British line of supporting a Western Pact in the 
name of "peace/* while refusing any commitments of collective 
security in Central or Eastern Europe, has only assisted this 
policy of open preparation of war for expansion. 

No less clearly towards these aims the whole strategic policy 
of Nazi Germany is being directed. The aims of aggression 
and expansion, so clearly expressed in Hitler's Mein Kampf, 
are no empty dreams in the air, but are being backed up by 
the most powerful and far-reaching process of heavy rearma- 
ment and military preparation the world has yet seen. From 
the advent to power of the Nazi regime the whole internal or- 
ganisation of Germany has been directed to the preparation 
of war on a scale unparalleled by any other State. According 
to Churchill's estimate, already quoted, the total expenditure 
of Nazi Germany on rearmament in the three years since the 
accession of Hitler to power has amounted to 1,500,000,000. 
This expenditure in turn creates heavy economic problems 
and thus hastens the drive to eventual war. 

The question may well be asked why, in the face of these 
open expansionist aims and war-preparations of Nazi Ger- 
many, the other States of Europe should not have banded 
themselves together to maintain collective security over Eu- 
rope as a whole, offering Germany the possibility of entering 
into such a union of collective security, or alternatively, in the 
event of refusal, combining such a front of resistance as would 
have made successful aggression impossible. 

The answer lies in two conflicting factors, which hinder 
such a front: first, in the contradictions of the other imperialist 
Powers in Europe; and second, in the class-interests of the 
dominant sections of the possessing classes in other countries, 
who tend to look on the Nazi regime, and even on its excesses, 
with a benevolent eye as the representative of their principles 
against socialism. 


The line of class-unity with Hitler has been most consciously 
and continuously expressed by the veteran statesman of West- 
ern imperialism, Lloyd George. Already in 1935 he gave the 

"If the Powers succeed in overthrowing Nazism in Ger- 
many, what would follow? Not a Conservative, Socialist or 
Liberal regime, but extreme Communism. Surely that could 
not be their objective. A Communist Germany would be in- 
finitely more formidable than a Communist Russia. The 
Germans would know how to run their Communism effec- 
tively. ... He would entreat the Government to proceed 

(LLOYD GEORGE, speech at Barmouth, 

September ssnd, 1933) 

And again in 1934: 

"In a very short time, perhaps in a year or two, the Con- 
servative elements in this country will be looking to Ger- 
many as the bulwark against Communism in Europe. She 
is planted right in the centre of Europe, and if her defence 
breaks down against the Communists only two or three 
years ago a very distinguished German statesman said to 
me: 'I am not afraid of Nazism, but of Communism' and 
if Germany is seized by the Communists, Europe will fol- 
low; because the German could make a better job of it than 
any other country. Do not let us be in a hurry to condemn 
Germany. We shall be welcoming Germany as our friend." 
(LLOYD GEORGE in the House of Commons, 

November 28th, 1934) 

This openly reactionary type of appeal is repeatedly used by 
Hitler to win support in other countries for his aggressive 
aims, and to blind bourgeois opinion in the other countries to 
the direct menace to their own interests. 

Even in France, which is directly menaced by Hitler, the 
reactionary Fascist and pro-Fascist sections of the bourgeoisie 

262 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

have openly supported Hitler, not only in opposition to the 
interests of the French people or of French security, but also 
in opposition to the interests of French imperialist power in 
Europe, class considerations proving stronger at this stage than 
the traditional line of a Clemenceau or a Poincare. These ele- 
ments, represented by Laval, Tardieu, Colonel de la Roque, 
etc., have advocated French co-operation with Hitler, leaving 
him a free hand in Eastern Europe, even at the expense of 
sacrificing France's allies in Europe. The Comit des Forges, 
the most powerful element of French finance-capital and the 
main backer of Fascism in France, has continuously supplied 
the iron ore of Lorraine to Hitler which has made possible his 
rearmament. As against this line, however, the present domi- 
nant forces of the General Staff have recognised that this course 
of co-operation with Nazi aggression would be suicidal and 
lead the way to the ultimate annihilation of French power and 
domination of Europe by Hitler, and consequently at present, 
though with divisions, support the line of the Franco-Soviet 
Pact. The whole issue is bound up with the inner social-politi- 
cal conflict in France; and only the strength of the People's 
Front, overwhelmingly reaffirmed in the elections of May 1936, 
has so far defeated the campaign of the reactionary sections 
of the French bourgeoisie to wreck the Franco-Soviet Pact. 

In Britain this class-support of Hitler has been still more 
marked. The City has been openly pro-Hitler, and is finan- 
cially tied up with his regime. The Bank of England has as- 
sisted to finance German rearmament (see the series of articles 
of the Financial News of May i5th, 1935, on "Finance of Ger- 
many's Re-armament"); Vickers has actively assisted to rearm 
Germany (see the answer of the chairman, Sir Herbert Law- 
rence, at the annual meeting in March 1934 to the query of a 
shareholder whether the company was not engaged in assisting 
to rearm Germany: "I cannot give you an assurance in definite 
terms, but I can tell you that nothing is done without the 
sanction and approval of our own Government"). The rela- 
tions of Montagu Norman and Schacht have been continu- 
ously close. 

This British support of Hitler and of German rearmament 


has been governed by general considerations of British foreign 
policy. Continuously since Versailles Britain has given general 
support to the restoration of German power in order to coun- 
terbalance French power in Europe, and has sought at the 
same time to draw Germany into a Western orientation in 
opposition to the Soviet Union. The advent of Hitler to power 
was seen as the opportunity to press this line forward. The 
injustices of Versailles were suddenly discovered, a little late 
in the day, after the situation has completely changed, by the 
main body of the British bourgeoisie. What had been sternly 
denied to parliamentary democratic Germany, which was 
weak, defenceless and sincerely wanting peace, was now poured 
out with eager hands to Nazi German, which was armed, ag- 
gressive and openly preparing war. The words of Lord Lothian 
expressed the dominant British line: 

"Germany must be given a position appropriate to a 
nation which would normally be regarded as the most pow- 
erful single State in Europe." 

(LORD LOTHIAN in the House of Lords, 

May ist, 1955) 

These words were repeated with full approval in the editorial 
of The Times of May grd, 1935, on "British Foreign Policy/' 
as a correct expression of the British aim, with the addition 
that "the Versailles system has been tried, but it has not given 
Europe peace/' and with the further significant addition that, 
while Western European security should be covered by guar- 
antees, existing conditions 

"do not yet impose upon this country the obligation of 
interpreting literally the general terms of every article of 
the Covenant. No other country, it can safely be said, has 
the slightest intention of giving practical effect everywhere 
to, for instance, Article 10 and Article 16." 

(The Times editorial on "British Foreign Policy," 

May 3rd, 1935) 

264 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Thus not only Versailles and collective security were openly 
thrown overboard, but even the old line of the balance of 
power: Germany was to be recognised as the predominant 
Power in Europe, in alliance with Britain, and given a free 
hand in Central and Eastern Europe. 

In this way, by the division of the other imperialist Powers, 
and by the support of powerful sections of the ruling class in 
other countries, and especially by British support, Nazi Ger- 
many since 1933, despite its initial weakness, and despite its 
openly aggressive aims, has been able to advance stage by 
stage with its enlarging offensive, and to achieve success after 
success, each stage preparing the way for the next and increas- 
ing the menace of war. 

The first stage was the beginning of the process of rearma- 
ment in 1933 and the throwing over of the League of Nations. 
As soon as the Nazi regime was established, the British Prime 
Minister hastened to Geneva to call for "justice for Ger- 
many," and to propose the doubling of the German Army 
and the cutting down of the French Army (the British "Dis- 
armament" Plan), and then proceeded to Rome to draw up 
in unity with Mussolini the project for the Four-Power Pact 
or bloc of Western imperialism. 

The second stage was the German-Polish Treaty of January 
1934, preparing the ground for the offensive against the Soviet 
Union. The Polish Press has since contained numerous refer- 
ences to the plans for the joint spoliation of the Soviet Uk- 
raine, further elaborated in the "hunting parties" of General 
Goering in Poland. 

The third stage was the attempted coup for the seizure of 
Austria by the murder of Dollfuss in July 1934, and the Nazi 
rising, organised from Germany. This attempt ended in fail- 
ure, in face of the Italian opposition and mobilisation of 
troops. The character of this episode, following the murder- 
coup of Hitler against his own associates in the previous 
month, led to a temporary cooling of sentiment towards Nazi 
Germany also in British circles and signs of a change in British 
policy. The new orientation found expression in the support 
for the Soviet Union's entry into the League of Nations, and 


in the Anglo-French agreement of February 1935, which called 
for a general European settlement, including an Eastern Se- 
curity Pact. The dominant forces of British policy, however, 
rapidly reasserted themselves, cold-shouldered the Eastern 
Pact, and proclaimed it dead as soon as Germany had refused 

The fourth stage, after the Saar had been won back by the 
plebiscite in the beginning of 1935, and after two years of 
rearmament had been completed, was the first open defiance 
to the Western Powers the Military Law of March 1935, re- 
establishing conscription and throwing over the military 
shackles of Versailles. The reaction to this compelled a formal 
joint condemnation by Britain, France and Italy at the Stresa 
Conference in April 1935, reaffirmed in the League of Nations 
resolution at Geneva the same month condemning the uni- 
lateral violation of treaties. The Stresa Conference resolution 
repeated the line of the Anglo-French agreement of February; 
and it was reported in many quarters that a common front 
had thus been formed, the so-called "Stresa front" against any 
further Nazi aggression or violation of treaties. In fact, British 
policy rendered any conception of such a front illusory. With- 
in ten days of the German open defiance by the Military Law 
of March the British Foreign Secretary, Simon, had journeyed 
to Berlin to meet Hitler in "the friendliest spirit" (in the 
words of the official communique); and in June followed the 
Anglo-German Naval agreement, equally in defiance of Ver- 
sailles and of the Geneva resolution of April to which Britain 
had formally subscribed. 

The fifth stage was the Anglo-German Naval agreement of 
June 1935 re-establishing the German Navy at 35% of the 
strength of the British, the strongest in the world, and giving 
Germany the right to equality with the British Empire in re- 
spect of submarines. In view of the war experience of the sub- 
marine menace, such an agreement was not explicable from 
the standpoint of British interests save on the assumption of 
an Anglo-German understanding ruling out any immediate 
menace to British interests, and with the object to establish 

266 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

German dominance in the Baltic and over the Baltic coun- 

The sixth stage was the denunciation of Locarno in March 
1936, and the remilitarisation of the Rhineland. This blow 
completed the destruction of the previous limits on German 
power, and prepared the way, once the fortification of the 
Rhineland could be carried through, for a future war offen- 
sive, either in the West, in Central Europe or in the East, 
according to the situation. In the negotiations that followed 
in London in the spring of 1936 Britain acted openly as the 
protagonist of Nazi Germany, in opposition to France (whose 
representative at one point threatened to leave the confer- 
ence), and advocating acceptance of the German proposals for 
a new Western Pact, while accepting no commitments for se- 
curity outside Western Europe. On this basis Britain was pre- 
pared to offer military guarantees, backed by staff conversa- 
tions, to France and Belgium in the West, while leaving the 
road open to war in the rest of Europe. The subsequent Hitler 
"Peace Plan," put forward on March 3ist, 1936, carried for- 
ward, as already analysed, the preparations for war in accord- 
ance with the general line of the Nazi offensive, proposing 
guarantees for peace only in Western Europe. This plan was 
received with a warm welcome in all British official and semi- 
official expression; while the -alternative French plan, put for- 
ward in April 1936, for establishing binding obligations for 
the collective maintenance of peace throughout Europe as a 
whole, was dismissed with small attention. The Anglo-German 
conversations which followed served to gain time for the com- 
pletion of the process of re-militarisation of the Rhineland and 
the beginnings of preparations for fortification. 

These six stages have thus seen the continuously enlarging 
advance of the Nazi offensive to ever closer readiness for war. 
Where will the next blow fall? This question overhangs Eur- 
ope at the present time. The expectation has been widely ex- 
pressed that the next blow may fall in Austria or Czecho-Slo- 
vakia, through the form of an internal Nazi rising in the first 
place, with the possibility of subsequent direct intervention. 


But in fact no such immediate assumption of the next develop- 
ment is possible beforehand, owing to the extreme complica- 
tion of the situation. It is known, through the semi-official reve- 
lations which have appeared in the Dutch Press, that the ulti- 
mate strategic calculations of the Nazi war offensive turn on 
three alternative plans: first, the Goering plan for the attack 
eastwards, in alliance with Poland, for the absorption of the 
Baltic border States and the conquest of Soviet Ukraine; second, 
the line of attack for the absorption of Austria, and, in alliance 
with Hungary, for the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, 
while Poland and Japan attack the Soviet Union; and third, 
the western plan of attack through Holland and Belgium, for 
which the remilitarisation of the Rhineland has prepared the 
way, or, according to alternative reports, through Switzerland. 
But such a direct launching of war could only take place in a 
moment of extreme confusion of the international situation, 
when a general disintegration has been achieved of any com- 
mon stand of the opposing forces, and when the degree of mili- 
tary preparation has given strong confidence of superiority. In 
the meantime the line of advance lies through the still further 
pressing forward of rearmament, the strengthened organisation 
of the subsidiary Nazi movements in the neighbouring States, 
the attempt to disintegrate the system of collective security in 
Europe and the existing regional pacts by winning over one 
State and another as allies, and the continued Anglo-German 
co-operation for financial and diplomatic support and for win- 
ning back the former German colonies. The question of the 
restoration of the former German colonies is already openly in 
the forefront as the immediate next stage of German demands; 
and it is evident from official British statements (quoted in the 
last chapter) that the British Government is preparing the 
way for this. Such a restoration would mean the further 
strengthening of Nazi preparation for war. 

The menace of the advancing Nazi offensive, and of the Fas- 
cist revisionist offensive in general, has placed an ever sharper 
problem before the smaller States in Europe which are 
threatened with absorption or dismemberment. Increasing at- 

268 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tempts have been made to organise regional pacts of the sec- 
ondary and smaller States for collective defence against aggres- 
sion. The first and oldest of these groupings, the Little En- 
tente, consisting of the Succession States Czecho-Slovakia and 
Yugoslaviaand Rumania, is faced with the revisionist ambi- 
tions of Germany, of Italy and of Hungary. Second, the Balkan 
Pact of Mutual Guarantee, organised since the coming of 
Hitler to power, and finally signed in February 1934, combines 
Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia and Rumania against Italian and 
German ambitions in the Balkans. Third, the Baltic Pact of 
Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania was signed in September 1934. 
Fourth, the Scandinavian countries have drawn closer together 
for a concerted foreign policy. Finally, the so-called "neutral 
States" group in the League of Nations, consisting of Spain, 
Holland, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian States, has sought 
to develop a common policy in relation to the question of col- 
lective security through the League of Nations. 

But counter-tendencies of penetration by the Fascist revi- 
sionist offensive and individual capitulation of particular 
States are also visible. Fascist Hungary and Bulgaria are di- 
rectly united with the Fascist revisionist offensive. Fascist Po- 
land is allied with Nazi Germany by the German-Polish Treaty 
since 1934, although still maintaining the Franco-Polish 
Treaty. The Fascist regime in Finland is closely associated 
with Nazi Germany. Nazi policy seeks to disintegrate the 
Little Entente by winning over Yugoslavia; and in Rumania 
the pro-Nazi "Iron Guard," which already murdered the 
Prime Minister Duca, fights to win control and overthrow the 
existing line. In Denmark the strength of Nazi influence was 
shown by the fact that Denmark was the one State which ab- 
stained from voting for the League of Nations resolution of 
April 1935, condemning the Nazi violation of treaties. In 
Sweden, dominated by British influence, Conservative circles 
are strongly pro-Nazi, and the Swedish Press has openly spoken 
of the prospect of Sweden aligning itself with the "British- 
German-Polish bloc" In Belgium, where British influence is 
also strong, similar tendencies have appeared on the part of 
the Van Zeeland Government. 


The survey of the present situation in Europe, and of the 
prospects of the extending Nazi offensive, brings out ever 
more sharply the crucial role of British foreign policy. Up to 
the present the decisive factor in making possible the success 
of the Nazi offensive has been the role of British policy as led 
by the National Government. This influence has also under- 
lain the hesitations and capitulations of individual smaller 
States. If Britain had taken, or were yet to take, a decisive 
stand, in unity with France and the Soviet Union and the 
smaller States desiring peace, for the collective maintenance 
of peace throughout Europe as a whole, the way would not 
only be barred to Nazi aggression, but the consequent bal- 
ance of forces for peace would inevitably draw over the still- 
hesitating smaller States, and also eventually Poland (where 
there is sharp division of policy) to the stronger grouping for 
peace, and would thus finally compel Germany to enter into a 
system of collective security. But, up to the present, British 
policy has consistently tipped the balance the other way at 
every critical point, has assisted the advance of the Nazi of- 
fensive, and has thereby led to the demoralisation and weak- 
ening of the resistance of the smaller States and the accelera- 
tion of the advance to war. 

This dominant line of the British National Government, 
however, has aroused sharp opposition, not only from the mass 
of the population, who have no love for Nazi Germany, and 
from all the more clear-seeing supporters of peace, but also 
from elements within the ruling class, including among the 
Conservatives, who have recognised the eventual menace to 
British interests from a Nazi domination of Europe and have 
consequently advocated the line of collective security for Eur- 
ope as a whole. Thus a division has developed between the 
'camp which supports the Fascist drive to war, and the camp 
(of extremely varied elements) which, for whatever reasons, 
supports the line of collective security. This struggle over the 
future of British foreign policy is still in progress; and in 
Britain, as in France, the mass movement, if a united working- 
class front is achieved and an effective rallying of the popular 

270 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

forces against the policy of support of Hitler and of war, can 
play a decisive role in determining its outcome. The outcome 
of this struggle will have far-reaching effects on the situation 
in Europe and the world. 

Chapter VIII 


"The Soviet Government was not In the ordinary sense a 
national Government at all. It was not a Russian Government 
in the sense that the French Government was French or the 
German Government German. The French and the German 
Governments, like our own Government, existed to promote 
the interests of their own countries and did not care about the 
interests of other countries, except in so far as those interests 

affected their own." 
VISCOUNT GREY in the House of Lords, March 3rd, 1927 

OINCE 1917 the world has developed in two halves the socialist 
world and the capitalist world. Step by step this contrast has 
unfolded itself during these nineteen years. Alongside the gath- 
ering crisis and conflict of the capitalist world, the socialist 
world has advanced from strength to strength. To-day this con- 
trast strikes the attention of all. The issue of socialism or capi- 
talism ultimately dominates every other issue in the world* 

This division of the modern world into a socialist section 
and a capitalist section is a new situation in world politics. It 
is a peculiar transition stage, consequent on the victory of the 
socialist revolution in Russia and its defeat in the other coun- 
tries during the critical years at the end of the world war. This 
transition stage raises new and peculiar problems of the rela- 
tionship of the capitalist world and the socialist world, pending 
the advance of the other countries to socialism and the reali- 
sation of the world socialist order. Imperialism looks with no 
friendly eye on the victory of socialism, has made repeated at- 


272 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tempts in the past to overthrow it by violence, and is likely to 
resume those attempts in the future. The Soviet Union, in 
unity with the international working class, has defeated those 
attacks in the past, and is now stronger than ever to defeat them 
in the future. While resisting every attack, the Soviet Union 
strives for peaceful relations with the capitalist world, since 
every year gained for peace strengthens socialism and the ad- 
vance of the international working class, while the ultimate 
is3ue of world socialism can only be decided by the peoples 
themselves in all countries. In the meantime the Soviet Union 
remains the fortress of world socialism, the living example of 
socialist achievement and brotherhood to the working masses 
of all countries, and the leader of the fight for peace. 

In the present survey no attempt can be made to examine the 
achievements of the new civilisation which is growing up in 
the Soviet Union; this would require a separate book. We are 
here concerned only with the world political problems arising 
from the division of the world into a capitalist and a socialist 
section, from the victory of socialism in the Soviet Union, and 
from the relations of imperialism and the Soviet Union. 


The establishment of the Soviet regime represented the vic- 
tory for the first time in history of a new principle (presaged 
by the short-lived Paris Commune half a century earlier) the 
rule of the working masses, led by the industrial working class, 
on the basis of the common ownership of the means of pro- 
duction, replacing the previous rule of a minority owning class, 
on the basis of the class ownership of the means of production 
and the exploitation of the working masses. This transforma- 
tion was achieved by the working-class conquest of power, led 
by the workers' party, or Bolshevik Party (now Communist 
Party), in November 1917. The Soviets, or mass organs of the 
workers, soldiers and peasants, after developing first as the or- 
gans of the struggle for power, then became the organs of the 
new power, and remain its foundation to-day. From this trans- 
formation of the basis of class power all else has followed, and 


the subsequent victories of socialist construction have been 
made possible. 

The first task of the new Soviet regime was to establish and 
maintain its power against its enemies within and without. The 
second task was to lay the foundations of socialist economy, in 
order to prepare the way for the future classless society. 

From the outset the relations of imperialism to the new 
Soviet power were marked by unconcealed hostility. All the 
forces of imperialism, German, British, French, American and 
Japanese, launched their armed offensive against the new r&- 
gime. Every effort was made to overthrow it by armed violence, 
by invading expeditions, by blockade, by subsidising counter- 
revolutionary and bandit forces, and by the organisation of 
terrorism, assassinations, forgeries and sabotage. During this 
period the aim of the armed overthrow of Bolshevism was 
openly proclaimed. Kolchak, Denikin, Yudenitch and a host 
of others were supplied with Allied money, material and muni- 
tions. Military expeditions invaded Russian territory from every 
side. Elaborate plans of strategy were worked out. British im- 
perialism alone, according to a subsequent statement of Lloyd 
George, spent 100,000,000 in the effort to overthrow the Bol- 
shevik rule. The Times declared: 

"We must support much more energetically than we have 
done the various armies in Russia which are fighting for the 
rights of her people. . . . This is a fairly full programme, 
and if we carry it out with vigour, it will, by preventing the 
expansion of Bolshevism, bring about its fall." 

(The Times, March 28th, 1919) 

These early hopes of imperialism were destined to be dis- 
appointed. Through prolonged and desperate struggles, in the 
face of the heavy material superiority of the imperialist and 
counter-revolutionary forces, their assaults were nevertheless 
defeated by the resistance of the Russian workers and peasants 
in unity with the international working class (see Chapter 
III, pages 456). This victory was due to the revolutionary hero- 
ism and devotion of the Russian masses, fighting to maintain 

274 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

their own land and rule against the return of the hated ex- 
ploiters; to the divisions of the imperialist Powers; to the cor- 
ruption and incompetence of the White officers; and to the 
rising revolutionary advance in all the imperialist countries 
which paralysed the plans of imperialism, the class-conscious 
workers of all countries fighting in conscious unity with the 
Russian Revolution. As Lenin declared in 1921: 

"Only because the revolution is developing throughout 
the world is the international bourgeoisie unable to strangle 
us, although it is a hundred times stronger than we are eco- 
nomically and from a military standpoint/' 

By 1921 the main forces of the imperialists and the counter- 
revolutionaries had been defeated, and the Soviet Republic 
was unchallenged master of its territories. 

The first round of the battle between capitalism and social- 
ism, in the sphere of armed warfare, had ended in the victory 
of the socialist forces. The Soviet power had been maintained. 
But the struggle now advanced to the economic ground, to the 
task of building the foundations of socialist economy. This 
struggle was to be in its own ground no less exacting than the 
civil war. To the barbarically low level of economy of the 
country as a whole, inherited from the corrupt Tsarist autoc- 
racy, to the dirt, disease, illiteracy and starvation of Old Rus- 
sia, with undeveloped resources and dependent on foreign in- 
dustrial countries, seven years of war, civil war and blockade 
had added wholesale destruction and privation on every side. 
This was the inheritance which the task of socialist construc- 
tion had now to take in hand, faced with a ring of hostile 
capitalist States, with centuries of advance in development be- 
hind them, and placing a thousand economic and financial ob- 
stacles, as well as threats of renewed war, in the path of the 
new world. It is against this background that the achievement 
of socialist construction in the following decade must be 
measured in order to realise its full significance in world his- 

The first step of socialist construction was replacement of 


the temporary expedients of the so-called "war communism," 
or system of requisitioning and rationing imposed by the 
necessities of the civil wars and interventionist wars, by the 
New Economic Policy of 1921 (already foreshadowed by Lenin 
in 1918 as the next step forward, but interrupted by the civil 
wars and interventionist wars). The New Economic Policy was 
widely misunderstood by the capitalist world at the time as a 
retreat. In fact it laid the basis for the subsequent advance of 
the Five Year Plan. The strategy of the New Economic Policy, 
as the first step in building up socialism in a country of prim- 
itive agriculture and undeveloped industry, was to concentrate 
the heights of economic power in the hands of the workers' 
State, that is, banking, large-scale industry, transport, foreign 
trade, the strategic points of internal trade, and the general 
control of economy, while leaving freedom of private trading 
in the still numerically preponderant sphere of small-scale 
economy, which could only be invaded step by step by the new 
collective organisation. Thus at the outset the State and co- 
operative sector or collectivised sector was numerically in a 
minority, compared to the private sector. But the proportion 
of the State or collectivised sector advanced, until the condi- 
tions were finally ripe for the launching of the first Five Year 
Plan or the development of large-scale collective industry and 
the collectivisation of agriculture. 

During this period imperialism, having been defeated in its 
attempts to overthrow the Soviet regime by armed force, turned 
its calculations to hopes of the economic collapse of the new 
regime, to its supposed inevitable surrender to capitalism, and 
to plans for economic penetration. The offers of industrial 
"concessions" to foreign capitalists, in order to secure their 
assistance in developing the country (although very little 
materialised from this) helped to encourage these hopes. The 
new strategy was proclaimed with engaging candour by the 
British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Robert Home, in 
October 1921: 

"The best way to break down Bolshevism in Russia was to 

276 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

penetrate that great country with honest commercial me- 

The same strategy governed the attempt of the Genoa Confer- 
ence in 1922. The British Ambassador in Berlin, Lord d'Aber- 
non, well known as a leading financial authority, noted down 
in his diary in May 

"Russia is entirely ruined, and no trade of considerable 
moment can be carried on for a good many years to come." 
(LORD D'ABERNQN'S diary, May iyth, 1922: 

An Ambassador of Peace, p. 317) 

The British Conservative leader, Baldwin, developed the plan 
in October 1924 to exploit the Soviet market through Ger- 
many, and thus secure the ultimate payments of reparations 
and war debts from the Russian workers and peasants: 

"In my view the best thing for world trade, of which we 
should get our share, would be the development of Russia's 
trade by Germany that she should turn into that market 
and return to that country that surplus of exports which has 
to provide for the payment of reparations and incidentally 
some of our interest to America." 

(STANLEY BALDWIN., speech at Newcastle, 

Morning Post, October soth, 1924) 

The view of the collapse of socialism in Russia and inevitable 
return to capitalism was still widely spread in capitalist circles 
in 1924: 

"The existing system cannot be maintained. Soviet Russia, 
whatever may be its nominal system of government a few 
years hence, is bound to become a capitalist State." 

(j. L. GARVIN in The Observer, December 28th, 1924) 

These hopes of imperialism were also doomed to disappoint- 


ment. By 1927 the Economist, Russian Supplement, had to re- 
cord the discouraging conclusion: 

"After nine years the original Soviet system of nationalis- 
ed industry and trade remains almost intact. Departures 
from nationalisation have been, though fairly numerous, 
relatively unimportant. Nothing like a weakening of prin- 
ciple on the nationalisation question has taken place. The 
retreats before captialism which seem very considerable to 
foreigners appear to be very small within Russia. The pre- 
dominance of the State in big industry is very great." 
(The Economist, Russian Supplement, 

March igth, 1927) 

The figures which this Russian Supplement of the leading City 
organ had to record bore out the picture. In 19261927 the 
number of workers in State undertakings in large-scale indus- 
try was 2,685,000, against 63,000 for private capital; only in 
small-scale industry private enterprise still had 240,000 against 
30,000 for the State and 150,000 for the co-operatives. The ex- 
port trade was wholly in the hands of the State and co-opera- 
tives. Even of domestic trading, 34 per cent was in the hands 
of the State, 42 per cent in the hands of the co-operatives, and 
only 23 per cent in the hands of the private traders (as against 
40 per cent in 19231924). 

Thus the conditions were ripe for the next stage in 1928, the 
development of large-scale industrialisation in the hands of the 
workers' State, and the collectivisation of agriculture, that is, 
the final destruction of the backwardness of the country, and 
of the roots of commodity economy and capitalism. This was 
the task of the first Five Year Plan, begun in the end of 1928, 
and completed in four and a quarter years by the end of 1932. 
It was now that the headlong advance of the socialist construc- 
tion began to startle the world. 

The results of the first Five Year Plan brought the Soviet 
Union from the situation of a still technically backward coun- 
try to the position of the first industrial country in Europe and 
the second industrial country in the world. By the beginning 

278 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

of 1933 Stalin was able to report that Soviet industrial produc- 
tion in 1932 was three times the level of pre-war Russia and 
double the level of 1928, while in the same year American in- 
dustrial production was 84 per cent of pre-war and 56 per cent 
of 1928, British 75 per cent of pre-war and 80 per cent of 1928, 
and German 62 per cent of pre-war and 55 per cent of 1928. A 
new heavy industry had been brought into being with the steel 
works of Magnitogorsk, the new Ruhr of Ural-Kuznetzk, the 
electric power station of Dnieprostroi, the tractor works of 
Stalingrad and Kharkov, the automobile works of Gorky, and 
the chemical works of Bobriki-Beresniki, these giants leading 
the way in a host of similar undertakings. The proportion of 
industry in the total national income had risen from 24 per 
cent in 1913 to 45 per cent in 1932. The proportion of the so- 
cialised sector in the total output of industry had risen to 99 
per cent. Even more important in its ultimate significance was 
the collectivisation of three-fourths of agriculture, replacing the 
primitive small-scale peasant economy by a large-scale collect- 
ive agricultural economy of a type unknown in the capitalist 
world; 200,000 collective farms and 5,000 State farms were or- 
ganised. The sown area was increased by 21 million hectares. 
The share of the socialised sector in the total output of agricul- 
ture had risen from 3 per cent in 1928 to 75 per cent in 1932. 
The total national income was doubled. The share of the 
socialised sector in the total national output rose from 44 per 
cent in 1928 to 93 per cent in 1932. Cultural development 
went parallel to this. Wages increased 67 per cent. The social 
insurance fund was trebled. In place of Tsarist illiteracy, by 
1932 97 per cent of adults could read and write, 21 million 
children were in primary and secondary schools, and over i 
million students in universities and technical high schools. The 
issue of daily newspapers rose from 2.7 millions in 1913 and 
8.8 millions in 1928 to 36 millions in 1933. The number of 
medical aid stations rose from 1,942 in 1928 to 5,430 in 1932; 
the number of doctors from 19,000 in 1913 to 76,000 in 1932. 
The capitalist world was compelled to recognise this achieve- 
ment, without parallel in history. The Westminster Bank Re- 
view recorded in 1933: 


"Soviet Russia has made a striking advance, and on the 
basis of the official figures now ranks as the second industrial 
nation. . . . Most striking and probably also most significant 
of all is apparently the success with which the Soviet Rus- 
sian Republics have 'insulated' themselves from the creeping 
paralysis of world trade to-day, and in accordance with the 
policy of industrial reconstruction embodied in the Five 
Year Plan claim to have nearly doubled Russia's industrial 
output in that period." 

(Westminster Bank Review, May 1933) 

The bankers' journal went on to record the changed relative 
share in world industrial output: 


1928 1932 

United States 44.8 34.5 

U.S.S.R. 4.7 14.9 

United Kingdom 9,3 11.2 

Germany 1 1,6 8.9 

France 7.0 7.0 

Japan 24 3.7 

In the face of this transformation in the relation of forces 
imperialism began to change its tune. The old propaganda of 
the collapse of Russian economy under socialist rules and of 
the inevitable return to capitalism disappeared. In its place 
appeared a new propaganda of the "menace" of socialist eco- 
nomy as immeasurably superior to capitalist and beyond the 
power of capitalism to meet in competition. Pictures were con- 
jured up of a prospective vast "dumping" of Soviet industrial 
goods produced by "slave-labour." A Times editorial in 1931 
quoted a "leading authority" in the business world as saying: 

"If the rest of the world does not want communism, it 
should refuse, by agreement, to trade with Russia in any way, 
because in a few years' time, when all the factories now be- 
ing built up are fully working, with the country's vast in- 

280 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ternal resources and the energy of 150,000,000 people to 
draw upon, they will not only provide all that the Russian 
people want, but will swamp the world with cheap goods 
with which other industrial nations cannot compete." 

(The Times, January sgth, 1931) 

The editorial continued: 

"If Russia ... is able to go on industrialising herself at 
her present pace, other countries will only be able to com- 
pete by organising their production and commerce on some- 
thing like the scale on which Russia is organising hers/' 

The British Prime Minister, Baldwin, declared in a reply 
through his secretary to a manufacturing association's com- 

"Mr. Baldwin shares your apprehensions with regard to 
the effect of Russian competition on the industries of this 
country. In his view that country is a great potential danger 
to the economic development of Great Britain. He feels that 
the menace of competition from Russia, supported as it is 
largely by forced labour, must be overcome. The dumping 
of Russian goods has not yet reached the proportions that 
it will assume when the Five Year Plan manifests its full 
effect. Mr. Baldwin made it clear when speaking at Newton 
Abbot that before that time arrived it would be necessary to 
take action. He would propose to deal with the problem by 
means of a tariff, or, if necessary, by the prohibition of Rus- 
sian imports, even if that meant the denunciation of the 
existing treaty." 

(The Times, March soth, 1931) 

The view of "dumping" and "forced labour" was not shared 
by expert opinion, as voiced by the Argentine delegate to the 
World Wheat Conference in 1931, who attributed the menace 
to an "economic revolutionary regime" which had unified pro- 
duction and "eliminated the middleman": 


"He doubted whether it could be fairly claimed that the 
Soviet Republics were practising dumping or even that the 
cheapness of Russian products was due to forced labour. He 
himself was of the opinion that it was the result of an eco- 
nomic revolutionary regime imposed by the Soviet Govern- 
ment, which had eliminated the middleman and was alone 
responsible for the planting, cultivation, harvesting, trans- 
port and sale of agricultural products." 

(DR. PEREZ, Argentine delegate to the World 
Wheat Conference at Rome, The Times, 

March 28th, 1931) 

Thus no longer socialist inefficiency, but socialist efficiency 
became henceforth the burden of capitalist complaint. The 
first premiss of every capitalist argument became the invincible 
superiority of socialist production. From this they inferred the 
necessity of smashing it. Anti-Soviet propaganda and open in- 
citements to war now began to become increasingly promin- 
ent in all reactionary capitalist expression. 

The line of argument is worth pursuing, in view of its basic 
significance for the whole future. The mythical character of 
the argument in relation to the real facts i.e. the still minute 
proportion of Soviet exports to world exports, and the fairy 
tales of "forced labour" is less important than the underlying 
approach. For what was this alleged threatening competition 
of which the capitalist propagandists began since the Five 
Year Plan to express such fear? What could make it so dan- 
gerous, coming from a country with the handicap of a long- 
arrested backward development? The menace, it was common- 
ly explained, arose because here was a new phenomenon of an 
enormous State economic organisation embracing one hundred 
and sixty million people. Yet all the authorities of capitalism 
had taught from a thousand platforms and in a thousand 
textbooks that any State economic organisation is bound to be 
utterly incompetent, inefficient, wasteful, unproductive, and 
in every way unfit to compete with private enterprise. How 
then could they fear its competition? But the further explana- 
tion was offered: the competition is menacing because this 

282 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

State organisation is able to use "slave-labour/' while the 
capitalists have to pay for wage-labour and cannot compete. 
The argument is here based on the failure to distinguish be- 
tween the real slavery of one class to another in the "free la- 
bour" of capitalist society, and the collective discipline of a 
classless society, in which the workers are the owners and 
rulers. But even admitting the premiss, what would follow? 
The menace of the competition is stated to arise because of 
"slave-labour." Yet it is the commonplace of every economic 
textbook, and this time not in imaginary theory, but based on 
experience, that slave-labour is the most costly, wasteful, ineffi- 
cient form of labour and invariably breaks down when 
brought into competition with wage-labour. 

In truth, the victory of socialism in the Soviet Union dealt 
capitalism a heavy blow, neither by the fictitious "dumping," 
nor by the equally fictitious "forced labour," but by the dem- 
onstration of capitalist bankruptcy and of the superiority of 
the socialist organisation of production. The ideologists of the 
capitalist world were placed in a quandary. Either they would 
have had to abandon all their propaganda against socialism, 
and to admit that the Soviet economic organisation is a more 
scientific, efficient organisation, i.e. that the form of labour, so 
far from being "slave-labour," is an obviously higher form of 
labour (witness the Stakhanov movement), as easily outstrip- 
ping wage-labour as wage-labour outstrips slave-labour, or they 
would have had to abandon their propaganda of the "eco- 
nomic menace" of the new form of organisation. But in fact 
they wished to have it both ways. They endeavoured at once 
to insist on the utterly inefficient and slave character of the 
form of organisation, and at the same time to insist on the 
invincible menace of its competition to capitalist industry. The 
very fact that they thus sought to use both arguments at once 
revealed that these were only the propagandist covers for a 
deeper antagonism. 

Deeper behind these specious propagandist arguments of 
"dumping," "slave-labour," "forced labour," etc, lay the real 
fear and growing sense of capitalist decline in the face of the 
triumphant rise of socialism* The contrast of the world eco- 


nomic crisis of capitalism, with lowered production and mass 
unemployment, developing at the very same time as the Five 
Year Plan, with soaring production and the abolition of un- 
employment, struck the imagination of all. Once, imperialism 
had set up its cordon sanitaire against the spread of the Soviet 
regime. To-day a new type of pacific cordon sanitaire of the 
Soviet regime against the capitalist crisis was revealed, the 
magic circle of socialism, through which the raging economic 
crisis of the capitalist world could not pass, and within which 
was maintained a world of sanity, peace and construction in 
the midst of the howling anarchy, destruction and conflict of 
the capitalist world. This deepening sense of capitalist decline 
and socialist advance was expressed by the Economic Adviser 
of the Bank of England in 1931, when he declared that, un- 
less some kind of "planned arrangement" could be achieved 
within capitalism, 

"there could be nothing in the future of this country 
but a slow decline or if one generalised for the individ- 
ualistic Western world, a slow decline relative to the possibi- 
lities of the competing regime which was being developed in 

(o. M. w. SPRAGUE, Economic Adviser to the Bank 
of England, address to the English-Speaking 

Union, The Times, May igth, 1951) 

This contrast became all the more marked with the next 
stage of socialist advancethe stage of the second Five Year 
Plan of 19331937- During the first Five Year Plan the Soviet 
population had still to make conscious sacrifice of immediate 
benefit, and to exert heavy strain and effort, in order to build 
the foundations of heavy industry without capital, out of in- 
come, and to meet the difficulties of the first stages of agricul- 
tural collectivisation in the face of the resistance of the richer 
peasants. But with the second Five Year Plan the fruits of 
effort began to pour in, with rising abundance on every side. 
The foundations of heavy industry having been laid, it was 
now possible to hasten forward the development of light in- 

284 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

dustry and of production of consumption goods. The objec- 
tives of the second Plan include to double the production of 
producers' goods, and to increase the production of consumers' 
goods two and one-third times, bringing the total output of 
large-scale industry to more than eight times pre-war; to double 
the gross output of agriculture, increasing grain supplies fifty 
per cent and meat supplies threefold: to double real wages, to 
treble expenditure on housing, and to increase expenditure on 
social services nearly fourfold. The Seventeenth Congress of 
the Communist Party of the Soviet Union defined the "funda- 
mental political task" of the second Five Year Plan as: 

"the final liquidation of the capitalist elements and of 
classes in general, the complete removal of the causes which 
produce class differences and exploitation, the overcoming 
of the remnants of capitalism in economy and in the minds 
of the people, the conversion of the whole of the population 
of the country into conscious and active builders of the 
classless socialist society." 

With the successful advance of the second Five Year Plan, 
now in its fourth year, with the visible increase of abundance 
and the "joy of life" (in the words of Stalin describing the 
latest stage in the Soviet Union and the significance of the 
Stakhanov movement), and with the emergence of such signi- 
ficant phenomena of the new life as the Stakhanov movement 
or development of technique, no longer merely by technical 
experts from above, but by the workers themselves in their 
work, the growing anxiety of the capitalist world over the 
triumph of socialism in the Soviet Union began to enter into 
a new phase, leaving behind the old bogies of "dumping," etc. 
With every year the relative weight of the socialist sector in 
the economic world-balance was increasing. With every year 
the contrast between the conditions of life for the masses in the 
socialist world and the capitalist world was becoming more 
marked and was exerting its influence in all countries. With 
the development of heavy industry the socialist world had be- 
come economically independent of the capitalist world* With 


a few more years' development it would become fully impreg- 
nable in a military sense and too strong for the weakened capi- 
talist world to attempt to attack. Thus the thought began to 
develop more and more urgently in the reactionary circles of 
all countries in the capitalist world, and increasingly under 
the influence of the economic crisis and subsequent depression, 
that only one weapon was left, to return to the direct attack 
which had been defeated in the early interventionalist wars, 
and to launch, this time with a more concerted strategy, the 
military offensive against the Soviet Union, while the superior 
forces were still on the side of imperialism. Nazi Germany on 
the one side, and Fascist-militarist Japan on the other, provid- 
ed the weapons and the means. This was the new strategy to 
which powerful sections of imperialism, especially in Britain, 
began increasingly to turn. 


The aim of war against the Soviet Union for its destruction 
was never abandoned by the reactionary elements of imperial- 
ism since the defeat of the interventionist wars. This was not 
only a question of White Guard circles and their influential 
backers in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, or Tokio, of the 
openly chauvinist and jingo elements like the Rothermeres and 
Hearsts, of military elements like the Fochs and Ludendorffs, 
or of directly interested elements of finance-capital like the 
Beterdings and Kreugers. Throughout, the same line appears 
and reappears in governmental expression, in the shape of ap- 
peals and diplomatic manoeuvres for a united imperialist front 
against the Soviet Union. The leadership of this hostility has 
throughout lain with the most powerful circles of British im- 
perialism, the most conscious as a world power with extended 
world interests, with a deep-seated tradition of striking down 
every revolutionary movement in the world since the struggles 
against the French Revolution, the centre of world reaction, 
and now seeing as the basic issue of the post-war period the 
battle of imperialism against the world socialist revolution. 
This line has appeared again and again in British policy 

286 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

throughout the post-war period at critical turning-points, not 
only in the most active leadership in the wars of intervention, 
but again in subsequent diplomatic moves in the Curzon ul- 
timatum of 1923, in the Zinoviev forgery of 1924, in the Lo- 
carno manoeuvres of 1925, in the Arcos raid and rupture of 
1927, in the Birkenhead Mission to Berlin in 1928, and in the 
renewed rupture over the trial of the engineers in 1932. Again 
and again Britain has sought to draw the Powers to a united 
imperialist front against the Soviet Union, only for the plans 
to break down against the contradictions of imperialist in- 
terests. In the most recent period, however, since 1934 a con- 
flict of forces has arisen, owing to the increasing complication 
of the international situation, and the direct menace to Brit- 
ish interests involved in the advance of Nazi Germany and 
Japan; but powerful forces are still pressing forward the line 
of support to these against the Soviet Union, and even seeing 
in this situation the most favourable opportunity in their view 
that has yet presented itself for launching the offensive. 

At the present day the direct offensive against the Soviet 
Union, with open aims of war of aggression and expansion by 
partition of territory of the Soviet Union, is led by Nazi Ger- 
many and Japan. But this offensive has powerful backers in 
leading reactionary circles in the other imperialist countries, 
especially within the ruling forces o British imperialism. The 
diplomatic and strategic plans for a joint German-Polish- 
Japanese war of expansion against the Soviet Union, with 
British support in the background, have to-day reached a very 
advanced stage. This offensive constitutes the deepest under- 
lying menace of major war in the world to-day. It is necessary 
to face the facts of this situation plainly, at the same time as 
taking into consideration the complications in the imperialist 
camp, as well as the strength of the peace forces, which may 
yet hinder it. 

The central pivot of this offensive is the conception of a 
combined attack by Japan in the East, and by Nazi Germany, 
with Polish support, in the West, against the Soviet Union. 

The Japanese aims of expansion in Eastern Asia, and calcu- 
lations of inevitable future war against the Soviet Union, are 


all known and openly expressed by the dominant military 
party. These aims underlie the continuous refusal up to the 
present of the repeated Soviet offers of a non-aggression treaty 
between Japan and the Soviet Union. The Japanese objectives 
of territorial expansion at the expense of the Soviet Union, 
freely expressed in semi-official literature of the military ele- 
ments, are directed to the Far Eastern Province, Soviet 
Sakhalin, Kamschatka, Outer Mongolia (in association with 
the Soviet Union), and in the more ambitious projects the 
whole of Eastern Siberia up to Lake Baikal, which Japanese 
troops already occupied in the years after the war and only 
abandoned after prolonged resistance. The extending Japanese 
war of aggression since 1931, which has established Japanese 
military control of Manchukuo, Jehol, Chahar and Inner 
Mongolia, has established the foundations for the offensive 
against Outer Mongolia and the Soviet Union, for which stra- 
tegic preparations are being actively carried forward. 

Nevertheless, Japan would hesitate to face the hazard of war 
against the Soviet Union without the backing of other imper- 
ialist Powers. In the first stages of the offensive, during the 
critical year 1932, Japan had the effective backing of Britain 
and France, and the Conservative Press of both countries open- 
ly encouraged Japan to go forward as the champion against 
Bolshevism in the Far East. 1 But the advent of Hitler to power 

1 Significant of this stage was the Papal Encyclical "Caritate Christi" of 
May 1932, which, in openly calling for a united front of all imperialist 
States to overthrow the "phalanx of atheistic communists/' the "enemies 
of social order/' by "all legitimate human means/' made a specific addi- 
tion to include Japan in this unity of "Christian" nations: 

"The Pope accordingly calls upon all the nations to put aside all base 
egoism and to unite all their forces in a single front against the bat- 
talions of evil, enemies of God no less than of mankind. Although those 
who glory in the name of Christ should be the first in this union of 
minds and strength, let those likewise loyally aid who still believe in 
God and adore Him. For the peril threatens all and aims at overthrow- 
ing the very foundations of all social order and all authority which is 
faith in God. In this combat for religion and social peace all legitimate 
human means must be used." 

The ingenuity of this bloodthirsty old man to find means to include 
Japanese imperialism in his "Christian" crusade for the overthrow of 
communism is only equalled by the parallel Nazi ingenuity in discovering 
that the Japanese are really "Aryans." 

288 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

in Germany transformed the international situation. France, 
in alarm before the Nazi menace, moved to closer relations 
with the Soviet Union. Japan, on the other hand, now found 
in Nazi Germany its predestined ally for the attack on the 
Soviet Union, in order to divide the Soviet forces. The r61e of 
Nazi Germany thus became the critical role for the attack on 
the Soviet Union. 

The plans of Nazi Germany for a war of expansion in East- 
ern Europe at the expense of the Soviet Union are as open 
and unconcealed as the Japanese plans in the Far East, and 
have been discussed in the last chapter. These aims constitute 
the pivot of Nazi foreign policy. 

The conception of an ultimate inevitable war of imperial- 
ism, under British hegemony, against the Soviet Union, and 
the problem of Germany's role, have preoccupied German 
military and diplomatic opinion throughout the post-war 
period, and indeed constituted the undercurrent of the 
Locarno negotiations. One school saw the most favourable 
possibility for Germany to rebuild its power on the basis of the 
Anglo-Soviet antagonism. Another school saw danger in this 
path for Germany to become the cat's-paw of the Western 
imperialistic interests and sought to manoeuvre between West 
and East. Already at the end of the war Ludendorff sought to 
offer a military alliance to Foch for a joint war on the Soviet 
Republic. The Rapallo Treaty in 1922 was carried by the 
Eastern school, led by Baron von Maltzahn, in the face of the 
extreme hesitation of the Chancellor, Wirth. In 1923 Lord 
d'Abernon, the British Ambassador in Berlin, saw General 
Hoffmann, the "hero" of Brestiitovsk, and recorded in his 

"All his opinions are governed by his general conception 
that nothing can go right in the world until the civilised 
Powers of the West come together and hang the Soviet Gov- 
ernment. . . . Asked if he believed in the possibility of any 
unity between France, Germany and England to attack 
Russia, he replied: It is such a necessity, it must come/ " 
(LORD D'ABERNON, An Ambassador of Peace) 


The same ultimate conception underlay Locarno. Lord d'Ab- 
ernon, who as British Ambassador in Berlin was the principal 
architect of Locarno behind the scenes, gave subsequently his 
view of its real significance: 

"Western civilisation was menaced by an external danger 
which, coming into being during the war, threatened a cat- 
aclysm equalled only by the fall of the Roman Empire. . . , 
The fundamental character of the change to be imposed by 
violence on the organisation of European civilisation was 
indeed such that it might have been anticipated that the 
Western nations would realise the petty nature of their own 
differences and compose them in order to combine against 
the common danger. But such an anticipation would not 
have taken into account that weakness in human nature 
which is always prone to exaggerate the near, the local and 
the national, to the exclusion of wider considerations. . . 

"This fact reinforces the argument that in judging the 
Locarno policy attention must be confined to the Rhine 
frontier and the traditional antagonism between Gaul and 

(LORD D'ABERNON, An Ambassador of Peace, pp. 

This view was also openly expressed by the British Govern- 
ment Minister, Ormsby-Gore, at the time: 

"The solidarity of Christian civilisation is necessary to 
stem the most sinister force that has arisen not only in our 
lifetime, but previously in European history. 

"The struggle at Locarno as I see it was this: Is Germany 
to regard her future as bound up with the fate of the great 
Western Powers, or is she going to work with Russia for the 
destruction of Western civilisation? 

"The significance of Locarno is tremendous. It means 
that, so far as the present Government of Germany is con- 
cerned, it is detached from Russia and is throwing in its lot 
with the Western party." 

(RT. HON. w. c. A. ORMSBY-GORE, speech at 

Manchester, October 2grd, 1925) 

290 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

These ultimate objectives of the Locarno policy broke down 
against the conflict of interests of British and French imper- 
ialism, and against the skilful manoeuvring policy of Strese- 
mann, who had no intention of allowing Germany to become 
the tool of Western imperialism, and who turned the subse- 
quent Franco-German co-operation at Thoiry in 1926 to di- 
rections not intended by the British aims. Britain, after the 
rupture with the Soviet Union in 1927, sought to secure the 
support of Paris and Berlin in following the same line, but 
without success. Marshal Foch, in an interview to the Sunday 
Referee on August 2ist, 1927, stated that he had proposed in 
1919 by sufficient military support to the border States to de- 
stroy once and for all the "Bolshevik menace," and that he 
was still of opinion that this should be the aim of united Brit- 
ish-French action; but the French Foreign Office refused to 
follow this line and instead entered on negotiations for a 
treaty of non-aggression with the Soviet Union (not concluded 
till 1932). The Birkenhead Mission to Berlin in 1928 for the 
same purpose was equally fruitless. According to the London 
correspondent of the semi-official Vossische Zeitung in April 

"English Ministers have in the past months repeatedly 
taken soundings of German diplomats as to whether the 
German parliamentary majority would be ready, in return 
for the funding of the Dawes payments and final fixing of 
reparations, formally to break off all relations with Russia, 
to denounce all treaties without delay, and to carry through 
an economic boycott against Soviet Russia. During the boy- 
cott, Germany, France and England should form a Recon- 
struction Syndicate to support the bourgeois-democratic 
Russian Government which after the collapse of the Soviet 
Government would come to the helm/* 

The Daily Telegraph Berlin correspondent reported of the 
Birkenhead Mission in May 1928: 

"It is admitted that in his private conversations he re- 


peatedly expressed the opinion that Germany would do 
wisely to make common cause with the Western Powers 
against Russia." 

These overtures broke down against Stresemann's counter- 
demands for the return of colonies to Germany and for the 
right of rearmament as the price of support. Britain opposed 
the first, and France the second. In the latter part of 1928 the 
German Minister of Defence, General Groener, gave his view 
of the governing forces of the European situation and the 
military problem for Germany in a secret memorandum: 

"The antagonism between England and Russia is notor- 
ious. . . . The fighting out of this antagonism is only a ques- 
tion of time; and Germany runs the gravest danger of being 
drawn into the struggle." 

(Secret memorandum of General Groener, German 
Minister of Defence, published by Wickham Steed in 

the Review of Reviews, January-February 1929) 

All these attempts of British imperialism in the post-war 
period to organise the united imperialist front against the 
Soviet Union and to utilise Germany as the weapon of the of- 
fensive broke down against the contradictions of imperialism 
in Europe, and still more against the contradictions of the in- 
ternal situation in Germany. So long as the strength of the 
working class in Germany was unbroken, no German Govern- 
ment could dare to use Germany as the tool of Western imper- 
ialism against the Soviet Union. Therefore the first task of im- 
perialism, in order to carry through the offensive against the 
Soviet Union, was to break the resistance of the working class 
in Germany. The battle between the working class and Fas- 
cism in Germany became the critical centre of the world situ- 
ation. Only when, through the division of the working dass 
and the Social-Democratic refusal of the united front, the Nazi 
dictatorship was able to establish its terror over the German 
masses, only then was the path cleared for the imperialist cru- 
sade against the Soviet Union, with the attempt to use the 

292 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

German people as its tool. The Nazis, who had been in close 
contact with leading sections of British Conservatism already 
before their accession to power, replaced the Stresemanns and 
Briinings, who had proved insufficiently pliant to the British 
demands, and addressed their foreign policy to play up to the 
aims of these sections of British imperialism. 

The Nazi foreign policy has been examined in the previous 
chapter. In all its statements it was from the outset openly di- 
rected to hostility against the Soviet Union and to territorial 
expansion at the expense of the Soviet Union. Its essential 
line was to seek the alliance of Britain, playing up to British 
opposition to France and to anti-Soviet sentiments in Britain, 
on this basis to secure German rearmament, to paralyse 
France, to establish German domination in Central Europe, 
and, thus strengthened, to direct the attack eastwards for ex- 
pansion at the expense of the Soviet Union and the border 
States, to strike down an isolated France, and only ultimately 
to advance to the full colonial demands against Britain. 

The key to this policy was the British alliance on the one 
side, and the Eastern expansionist offensive on the other. As 
already seen in the previous chapter, British support was suc- 
cessfully secured to make possible German rearmament, and, 
by concentrating on Western European security, to leave Ger- 
many the "free hand" in Central and Eastern Europe. 

But the Eastern expansionist offensive required the alliance 
of Poland, the deepest enemy of post-war Germany in view of 
the long-standing conflicts over the Corridor and Upper Si- 
lesia, in order to make possible the offensive against the Soviet 
Union. This was the initial problem of Nazi policy for the 
realisation of such an objective. This problem was solved, or 
attempted to be solved (for there is still an inner conflict with- 
in Poland over its future alignment), by the German-Polish 
Treaty of 1934. On what basis had these two States come to- 
gether in view of their profound contradictions? There could 
be only one basis, the common campaign against the Soviet 
Union. Informed Press correspondents from all countries re- 
ported that a plan had been reached, whether embodied as 
secret clauses in the German-Polish Treaty or as an accom- 


panying understanding, for a joint German-Polish offensive 
against the Soviet Union, at the same time as Japan should 
launch war in the Far East, with the immediate aim of the 
partition of Soviet Ukraine. In 1934 an obviously inspired 
article in the Fortnightly Review, by L. Lawton, declared: 

"Whereas formerly German statesmen looked both to the 
East and to the West, Hitler at present looks to the East 
only. Poland is also believed to harbour designs of Eastern 
expansion. ... In some quarters it is suspected that the pact 
of non-aggression recently concluded between Germany and 
Poland contains secret clauses defining the spheres of in- 
fluence of the two signatories in Soviet Russia, with special 
reference to the Ukraine. No one who studies the map of 
Eastern Europe can doubt that there are immense possibil- 
ities of a German-Polish compromise at the expense of 
others. The idea of including Ukraine within the Western 
European system, and moving Russia on towards the East 
is certainly tempting. . . . An independent or autonomous 
Ukraine is indispensable for European economic progress, 
and for world peace. Through Ukraine lies the shortest land 
route from the West to Persia and India. . . . With Ukraine 
as part of a democratic federative system there would, it is 
hoped, come into existence a grouping of States with which 
Great Britain could be on friendly terms. The moment is 
long overdue for the creation of some such grouping in East- 
ern Europe." 

In February 1935 the Warsaw correspondent of the Daily Mail, 
in close touch with Polish ruling circles, reported: 

"According to what is believed to be authentic informa- 
tion, plans are being discussed for a meeting between Heir 
Hitler and Marshal Pilsudski, the Dictator of Poland, at 
which they would discuss the possibility of a Polish-German 
military alliance, the provisions of which would include the 
separation of the Ukraine from Russia should war break out 
in the far East." 

294 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

The Polish Press openly discussed these aims. In 1935 a book 
by Wladimir Studnicki, Poland's Political Aims, which was 
widely circulated, set out the full-scale programme for the 
projected amputation of the Soviet Union on the East, the 
South and the West and declared: 

"Poland has the strongest interest in a victory of Japan 
over Russia. Participation in a Russo-Japanese war would 
be possible if Poland were to ally itself with Germany with 
this in view. No attention need be paid to France which oc- 
cupies to-day a secondary position. Poland and Germany 
could lay the foundations of a great Central European bloc" 
(WL. STUDNICKI, Poland's Political Aims, 1935) 

The German Press was no less open in the proclamation of 
its aims; and indeed every Government speech and Nazi 
broadcast was an open incitement against the Soviet Union. 
In November 1935 Schacht met Montagu Norman, the Gov- 
ernor of the Bank of England, and Tannery, the Governor of 
the Banque de France. The French journalist, "Pertinax," let 
out what Schacht informed the French representative in pro- 
posing Franco-German co-operation: 

"We have no intention to change our Western frontiers. 
Sooner or later Germany and Poland will share the Ukraine, 
but for the moment we shall be satisfied with making our 
strength felt over the Baltic provinces." 
(DR. SCHACHT, interview with the Governor of the 
Banque de France, reported by "Pertinax" in the Echo de 

Paris, November 3rd, 1935) 

At the same time dose political and military relations were 
established between Germany and Poland on the one side, and 
Japan on the other. In December 1933 the Lokal Anzeiger 
proclaimed the line: 

"Events in the Far East are exerting every day more and 
more influence on the position in Europe, although many 


European statesmen are unwilling to understand the real 
significance of these events. ... At the moment when Japan 
desires to obtain a solution which will commence in Vlad- 
ivostok, but the aim of which is still uncertain, the move- 
ment of world history will also begin in Europe." 

(Berlin Lokal Anzeiger, December ist, 1933) 

In January 1934 The Times reported from Berlin: 

"For some time German military and official circles have 
taken the keenest interest in the activities of Japan and the 
development of the Far Eastern situation. The possibility 
of a trial of strength between Japan and Russia and the 
consequent diversion of Soviet interest from European af- 
fairs is of the greatest interest to Germany. Whatever the 
diplomatic intentions of Germany towards Japan may be 
there has been in past months a good deal of so-called 'cul- 
tural contact* between the two countries. The attitude of 
Japan towards the League and the ambitious and energetic 
character of Japanese policy make a great appeal to expon- 
ents of National Socialism." 

(The Times, January 25th, 1934) 

In February 1935 the Observer described the relations be- 
tween Germany, Poland and Japan in the following terms: 

"Why is Tokio diplomacy so busy at this moment in 
Warsaw and in Berlin? Why has Berlin so far refused the 
Eastern Pact, as a year ago she refused the Baltic Pact? Mos- 
cow supplies the answer to both questions. The relations be- 
tween Germany, Poland and Japan become closer every day. 
In an emergency they would amount to an anti-Russian 

(Observer, February i7th, 1935) 

On December ist, 1935, a conference of Japanese military and 
naval attaches in Europe took place in Berlin, and later in 
the same month the French Press reported that a secret mil- 

296 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

itary convention between Germany and Japan had been in- 
itialled by von Ribbentrop and the Japanese military attach^ 
in Berlin. The meeting of General Goering and General Sa- 
wada, the Japanese military envoy, at Warsaw in February 
1936, was reported to be further connected with these prepar- 

The aims of the German-Polish-Japanese bloc were further 
directed to drawing in additional States of Central and North- 
ern Europe against the Soviet Union. German influence was 
strongly established over Hungary and Finland, and to some 
extent in the Scandinavian countries. In September 1935 to k 
place the Rominter meeting in East -Prussia of Germany, rep- 
resented by Goering and von Ribbentrop; Hungary, represent- 
ed by the Prime Minister, Goemboes; Poland, represented by 
General Fabrici and Prince Radziwill, the Chairman of the 
Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee; and Finland, repre- 
sented by General Mannerheim. The aim was set, according to 
The Times Berlin correspondent, to reach 

"a future German-Polish-Hungarian-Italian-Bulgarian 
even possibly Rumanian bloc. . . . 

"It seems to be feared in some conservative circles not 
only that air arrangements have been discussed, but also 
that naval and military ideas have been exchanged; and 
that Bulgaria, Finland (whose strategical position for naval 
operations is talked of) and even Rumania since the Soviet- 
Rumanian rapprochement began to look like a false alarm 
have been drawn in. Even Japan is suspected of figuring 
in these dreams of the future." 

(The Times, October isth, 1935) 

The same basic purpose governed von Ribbentrop's visit to 
Brussels in September 1935: in a secret interview to the 
Belgian Prime Minister, Van Zeeland, he offered, according to 
the Press reports: 

"If Belgium would guarantee not to take any action 
against Germany if Germany became involved in any 


struggle in Eastern Europe, Belgium need fear nothing from 
rearmed Germany." 

Approaches were even made, though without success, to 
Turkey. In May 1934 the Philadelphia Public Ledger report- 
ed that Esmin Pasha, the chief of the Turkish Mission to Mos- 
cow in that month, had informed the Soviet authorities that 
in March the Japanese Foreign Minister had approached the 
Turkish representative in Tokio to state that war between 
Japan and the Soviet Union was certain in the future, and to 
suggest a secret Japanese-Turkish Treaty by which, in the 
even of a Soviet- Japanese war, Turkey would not oppose the 
passage of troops to invade Transcaucasia; and that, further, 
the Japanese Admiral Matoussima had visited Angora to re- 
peat these propositions and to offer compensation to Turkey 
by the acquisition of territory in Transcaucasia, adding that 
similar propositions had been made to Berlin and Warsaw and 
had been well received. Turkey repulsed these proposals, and 
the Turkish Press stated that Turkish policy would remain 
faithful to its friendship with the Soviet Union (see the 
French journal, Lu, of June ist, 1934, for Press extracts on 
this episode). 

The plans of the German-Polish-Japanese war on the Soviet 
Union have thus reached a very advanced degree of prepara- 
tion. But the question of such an offensive raises at once the 
question of the decisive r61e of British and French imperial- 
ism, representing still the dominant imperialist Powers of 
Europe. If Britain and France stand firmly and unmistakably 
with the Soviet Union for the maintenance of peace, then the 
prospects of war offensive of Germany, Poland and Japan are 
blocked, and Poland is likely to veer to the stronger side. 

On the side of French imperialism the present balance of 
forces is favourable to peace. The Franco-Soviet Pact is the 
strongest bulwark of peace which stands in the way of the war 
plans of the German-Polish-Japanese offensive. Hence the 
anger of the Nazi Government against the Franco-Soviet Pact. 
The Franco-Soviet Pact has now been ratified after a pro- 

298 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

longed inner struggle between the Left and Right forces. Just 
as the temporary defeat of the working class in Germany, 
through the failure to realise the united front, opened the path 
to the war offensive, so the victory of the united front in 
France and the consequent strength of the working-class and 
popular forces has strengthened the forces of peace. The Right 
Wing elements in French imperialism, however, led by Laval, 
are openly hostile to this line and favour a line of co-operation 
with Hitler, allowing him a free hand in the East in return 
for a guarantee of the French frontiers. Thus the New York 
Herald-Tribune, reported during Laval's premiership: 

"Premier Laval, who is also Foreign Minister, is a strong 
partisan of an agreement between the French Third Re- 
public and the Nazi Third Reich, and is reported to be 
willing to scrap the Franco-Soviet Pact, which has been 
signed but not ratified by the French Parliament for an 
agreement whereby the Hitler regime would guarantee 
France's eastern frontier in exchange for complete freedom 
of action in the Memel region and in the Ukraine." 

(New York Herald-Tribune, November nth, 1935) 

Laval was defeated and removed from power. Against this line 
stand, not only the French People's Front, but also those ele- 
ments in French imperialism, strongly represented in the Gen- 
eral Staff, which clearly see that such a line would be suicidal 
and, by sacrificing Eastern and Central Europe, prepare the 
way for the annihilation of France by Germany. So long as the 
People's Front maintains its strength in France against the 
Right Wing and Fascist elements, the Franco-Soviet Pact is 

But what of British imperialism? Here, as in the whole situ- 
ation of gathering war menace already surveyed in the last 
chapter, we come to the crucial question. If Nazi Germany 
can count on the support of British imperialism, it will go 
forward with its offensive: 

"Germany does not fear a Franco-Russian military alli- 
ance [sic] if she can succeed in keeping England in 'splen- 


did isolation/ Germany would welcome isolation if she 
knew it were being shared by the British Empire. She would 
then go forward with her hands free." 

(Berlin correspondent of the Observer^ 

March ^ist, 1935) 

The decisive role of British policy for war or peace was recog- 
nised in an analysis by the Economist of "The Alternatives 
Before Britain": 

"We cannot afford to see Europe fall under the domina- 
tion of a single aggressive military Power. In naked terms 
this means that, if ever there is another European war in 
which Germany is a belligerent, we shall not be able to af- 
ford to see 'the Third Reich' emerge victorious in Europe 
either in the West or in the East.'* 

What, then, is to be done? The journal, writing in April 1935, 
saw the possibility of a collective peace bloc of 

'Towers who, like ourselves, are eager to keep the peace 
because they have everything to lose and nothing to gain by 
any violent change in the European status quo. The list of 
these Powers includes Russia and the Little Entente and the 
Balkan group, besides Italy and France. If Great Britain 
were to throw her weight into this scale, the preponderance 
of European force that would then be mobilised against 
possible German aggression would be so overwhelming that 
Germany would almost certainly be rendered impotent for 
making mischief quod erat procurandum. 

"Nevertheless, this is not practical politics; for British 
participation in such an anti-German military alliance 
would not be tolerated by British public opinion/* 

("The Alternatives Before Britain," the Economist, 

April 6th, 1935) 

In other words, the adhesion of Britain to the collective peace 
bloc with France, the Soviet Union, the Little Entente and the 

oo WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

cnaller States against German aggression in any part of Eu- 
ope would, in the opinion of this well-informed financial 
ournal, guarantee peace against the Nazi offensive; but it is 
: not practical politics." 

What, then, is the line of British imperialism? British 
Dolicy in all official expression professes support of peace and 
:ollective security. But at the same time Britain has in prac- 
tice supported and assisted German rearmament, facilitated 
each step of the Nazi offensive, and by proclaiming repeatedly 
that British commitments must be limited to Western Europ- 
ean security, that "the British frontier ends at the Rhine," and 
that Britain can accept no commitments for security in East- 
ern Europe, has encouraged the conception of the "free hand" 
for Hitler in Eastern Europe. The heaviest responsibility for 
the advance of the Nazi offensive during 1933-1936 has rested 
with British official policy, as led by the National Government. 

In fact a conflict is taking place in British policy. One camp 
supports the German-Japanese offensive, seeing in this a means 
of weakening the Soviet Union and at the same time deflecting 
the German-Japanese expansionist aims from the sphere of 
British interests, and seeks only to prevent the extension of 
the conflict to Western Europe. The other camp stands for 
collective security in Europe as a whole. 

The camp of supporters of the German-Japanese offensive 
contains in the first place the Fascist and pro-Fascist elements. 
This line is typically expressed in the Rothermere Press (re- 
inforced by the Beaverbrook Press "isolationist" line): 

"The sturdy young Nazis of Germany are Europe's guard- 
ians against the communist danger. . . . Germany must have 
elbow-room. . . . Once Germany has acquired the additional 
territory she needs in Western Russia, the problem of the 
Polish Corridor could be settled without difficulty. . . . The 
diversion of Germany's reserves of energies and organising 
ability into Bolshevik Russia would help to restore the 
Russian people to a civilised existence, and perhaps turn 
the tide of world trade once more towards prosperity. By 

the same process Germany's need for expansion would be 
satisfied, and that growing menace which at present darkens 
the horizon would be removed for ever." 

(LORD ROTHERMERE, Daily Mail, November 28th, 1933) 

This line supports a British-French defensive alliance as a 
means of forcing German expansion eastwards against the 
Soviet Union: 

"The Daily Mail has for years urged the advisability of 
a defensive alliance with France. But it was to be of a type 
which was not directed against Germany an alliance to 
protect the integrity of French territory in Western Europe, 
clear of all entanglements in Eastern Europe, and leaving 
Germany a free hand there against Bolshevism." 

(Daily Mail editorial, April ist, 1936) 

The same line is expressed by Mosley and British Fascism: 

"The future of Germany must lie on her Eastern frontiers 
in an Empire to which the future sets no limits." 
(SIR OSWALD MOSLEY, Sunday Dispatch^ January i3th, 1935) 

A similar line is expressed by the right Conservative elements, 
represented by the former Colonial Minister, Amery, with re- 
gard to the Japanese offensive against the Soviet Union: 

"While it is no part of our policy, or of American policy, 

to foster a quarrel between Japan and Soviet Russia, it 

would be no concern of ours, if such a quarrel developed 

into war, to prevent Japanese expansion in Eastern Siberia/' 

(L. s. AMERY, The Forward View> 1935, p. 288) 

An openly aggressive advocacy of support for a war of Nazi 
Germany against the Soviet Union is expressed by certain 
Service elements, as typically voiced by the journal the Aero- 

302 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

"For years we have preached that the next really big job 
of the Royal Air Force will be to go to Germany to help in 
staving off a Russian invasion, and consequently we hold 
that any kind of Western European pact should be an 
alliance of all the white nations, including Mediterraneans, 
against the yellow or red people East of Warsaw." 

(The Aeroplane, February isjth, 1935) 

These open incitements to war on the Soviet Union are cease- 
less in the British Jingo Press, especially in the millionaire 
"popular" Press. 

These open voices of British chauvinism and pro-Fascism 
are not yet the voice of British official policy, though they are 
often the principal driving forces behind it, and its advance 
expression, as the similar campaign leading up to the war of 
1914 revealed. The dominant official policy, however, as rep- 
resented by the National Government, is rather based on more 
subtle calculations. These calculations received an extremely 
clear expression already in 1934 in an interview given by a 
"prominent English Conservative statesman" to the Vienna 
Neue Freie Presse on May iyth, 1934. 

"We give Japan freedom of action with regard to Russia 
. . . whereby the export policy which Japan is compelled to 
pursue at present would be radically changed. . . . 

"We give Germany the right to rearm; we conclude an 
alliance with France so that, as a result of Franco-British 
co-operation, an expansion by Germany to the West will be 
impossible. On the other hand, we open to Germany the 
way to the East by giving it a possibility of expansion. By 
this means we divert Japan and Germany, and keep Russia 
in check." 

The calculation here expressed is much closer to the dom- 
inant line of British Conservatism, as represented by the Na- 
tional Government. The menace of Nazi Germany and of 
Japanese expansion to British interests is recognised, at the 
same time as the dass hostility of imperialist interests to the 

Soviet Union. The strategic inference is drawn to set one en- 
emy against the other. British policy, according to this calcu- 
lation, eggs on Nazi Germany and Japan against the Soviet 
Union, thus diverting their offensive from the spheres of Brit- 
ish interests, with the prospect of in this way neutralising 
the power of both sides, and, in the event of a conflict, letting 
both sides wear one another out, while Britain remains 
neutral, drawing the profits of the war, and emerging as the ef- 
fective ultimate victor. That this is the line of British policy 
is also the view of the French author, Francis Delaisi, who gave 
a notably accurate forecast of the war of 1914, and who in his 
recent book, The Coming War in 1914 and the Coming War 
in 1934 (La Guerre qui vient 1914 et la guerre qui vient 1934; 
Paris, 1934), argues that the key to the European future lies in 
the hands of Britain ("whoever would foresee the future in Eu- 
rope must first pass by London"), and that British policy is at 
present directed towards precipitating a destructive war on 
the Continent, in which Britain will not participate, but will 
through neutrality emerge as victor. Certainly the effect of 
the British line, in rearming Germany and refusing security 
in Eastern Europe, while insisting that the war shall not ex- 
tend to Western Europe, encourages this impression. 

It is only necessary to examine this calculation closer in 
order to see its suicidal character from even the narrowest 
standpoint of the interests of British imperialism. In fact, the 
conception of "localised war" is a dangerous delusion; no war 
of such a scale could be kept from developing a world char- 
acter, and "isolation" is likely to prove an illusory dream. But 
even assuming the maximum success of these war calculations 
of a section of the British ruling class, assuming the success 
of British influence in assisting (after a suitable offensive 
against the franc to unseat a Left Government) a Fascist or 
Right Wing coup in France to nullify the functioning of the 
Franco-Soviet Pact and organise Franco-German co-operation, 
and assuming on this basis the consequent freeing of the path 
for the German-Polish-Japanese war under British inspiration 
against the Soviet Union, what would be the consequences of 
such a war for British imperialism? From a purely military 

304 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

point of view, leaving out of account the incalculable social- 
political consequences throughout the world, and not least in 
the British Empire, such a war could only lead to one of three 
outcomes. Either the victory of Nazi Germany and Japan; or 
the victory of the Soviet Union; or a protracted conflict with- 
out decisive victory. In the first hypothesis Britain would have 
armed and assisted the overwhelming military domination of 
its two most menacing enemies, Nazi Germany and Japan, to 
return with redoubled strength, the principal obstacle to their 
war offensive having been weakened, to the attack against 
Britain's possessions. In the second hypothesis British imperi- 
alism would not only have paved the way to a result contrary 
to its dass aims, but the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan 
in war would inevitably lead to internal revolution. In the 
third hypothesis, a protracted conflict without victory would 
undoubtedly crack the unstable basis of the Fascist-militarist 
regimes in Germany and Japan and lead to their collapse, 
with the probability of the rapid extension of the socialist 
revolution to the Rhine, as well as to the whole Eastern Pa- 
cific. In every hypothesis British imperialism will have weak- 
ened its position through the final outcome of its dangerous 
game of playing with fire. 

In these circumstances it is not surprising that some of the 
more far-sighted and experienced leaders of British Conserv- 
atism have taken a critical attitude to the line of support for 
the Nazi offensive as fatal to British imperialist interests, and 
have even given a measure of support, not previously heard in 
these quarters, to the line of collective security in unity with 
all the States in Western and Eastern Europe, supporting the 
maintenance of collective security (in Europe), on the basis 
of the League of Nations Covenant, as the only line cor- 
responding to the interests of British imperialism at the pres- 
ent stage. The mass forces fighting for peace in Britain have 
no sympathy for the outlook of these elements; but their r61e 
may play a certain part in hindering and modifying the so far 
dominant tendency of support for the Nazi war offensive. 

The outcome of this conflict within British policy is stil] 
undecided. If the camp fighting for the line of collective se 


curity, for whatever reasons, carries the day, and British pol- 
icy is transformed from the present support of Nazi Germany 
and non-committal attitude with regard to Central and East- 
ern Europe, to active support of the line of the Franco-Soviet 
Pact and collective maintenance of peace as a whole, then the 
German-Polish-Japanese war offensive may be stayed. But the 
outcome of this conflict in policy will in fact depend on the 
strength of the mass struggle in Britain for peace, as it has al- 
ready depended in France. 


In ever sharper contrast to the open war offensive of the 
Fascist States, supported by powerful elements in the other 
imperialist States, is the consistent peace policy of the Soviet 
Union. Thus to the extreme poles in social and political struc- 
ture correspond the extreme poles in foreign policy. 

The peace policy of the Soviet Union has developed con- 
tinuously since its foundation. The Soviet Union came into 
existence in the struggle against the first world war. Its earliest 
action, on the morrow of the conquest of power, was to issue 
its call to the peoples and Governments of all countries for 
immediate peace without annexations and without indem- 
nities, in the famous Peace Decree of November 8th, 1917. 
From the outset the distinctive character of the Soviet peace 
policy has been that it has striven untiringly for universal 
peace for all the peoples of the world, as well as for its own 
country. Every opportunity arising in international politics 
and in diplomacy has been utilised to this end. The range and 
scale of the Soviet fight for world peace has continuously en- 
larged and expanded, as the power of the Soviet Union has in- 
creased, and as the menace of renewed imperialist war draws 
closer. To-day the Soviet Union, grown to one of the most 
powerful States of the world, is carrying forward its historic 
role in actively leading the fight for peace of the peoples of 
all countries against the dose menace of the second world war. 

Just as the foreign policy of every capitalist Power cor- 
responds to its social structure, so the peace policy of the 

306 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Soviet Union corresponds to its social structure. The fight of 
the international working class and of the Soviet Union for 
peace is identical, because the basis and interests of both are 
identical. The Soviet Union is not impelled by any of those 
forces which inescapably drive all capitalist States to war. The 
economic structure of the Soviet Union, being based on 
planned production for consumption by the community, and 
not on production for the market in order to yield a profit 
on capital, is not driven to fight for the conquest and dom- 
ination of markets as the necessary outlet for surplus goods; 
has no need of outlets for the export of capital, or of annexa- 
tions and subjugations of other peoples to secure the payment 
of tribute; has no need of colonies, mandates or subject ter- 
ritories to secure for growing capital-accumulation extending 
areas of exploitation; and has no commercial profit-making 
armaments industries sending round their agents all over the 
world to foment wars and war-scares in the hope of dividends 
from death. 

In short, the peace policy of the Soviet Union is the neces- 
sary expression of its socialist basis, no less than of its inter- 
nationalist outlook. Hence there is here no contradiction be- 
tween words and deeds. While particular capitalist States in 
particular phases and situations may have a temporary inter- 
est in the maintenance of peace, interrupting the normal 
drive to war, peace corresponds to the deepest permanent in- 
terests of the Soviet Union, of its task of socialist construction, 
and of the international working class. In consequence the 
fight for peace has been consistently and continuously main- 
tained only by the Soviet Union through the nineteen years 
of its existence. 

This fundamental character of the foreign policy of the 
Soviet Union as a policy of peace has slowly enforced recog- 
nition even from conservative bourgeois opinion. The myth 
was long endeavoured to be sedulously spread by the class- 
enemies of socialism, and is to-day still circulated by Fascism, 
that the Soviet Union, because it recognises its r61e as the nu- 
cleus of a future world socialist order, is therefore committed 


to endeavour to establish socialism over the world at the point 
of the bayonet. The conception is fantastic from the revolu- 
tionary standpoint, since socialism can only be realised by the 
will of the mass of the people themselves in every country in 
the struggle against their exploiters; there can be no other 
basis. This principle was very clearly laid down in a Note of 
the Soviet Union to the United States in 1920: 

"The Soviet Government dearly understands that the 
revolutionary movement of the working masses in every 
country is their own affair. It holds to the principle that 
communism cannot be imposed by force, but that the fight 
for communism in every country must be carried on by its 
working masses themselves. Seeing that in America and in 
many other countries the workers have not conquered the 
powers of government, and are not even convinced of the 
necessity of their conquest, the Russian Soviet Government 
deems it necessary to establish and faithfully to maintain 
peaceable and friendly relations with the existing Govern- 
ments of those countries." 

(Note of the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, 
Chicherin, to the United States Secretary of State, 
Colby, on October loth, 1920, published in the 
United States Foreign Relations, documentary series, 

for 1920) 

On the same lines, sixteen years later, the myth of the "export 
of revolution" was exposed by Stalin in an interview in 1936: 

"We Marxists believe that revolution will occur in other 
countries as well. But it will come at a time when it is con- 
sidered possible or necessary by the revolutionaries in those 

"Export of revolution is nonsense. Each country, if it so 
desires, will make its own revolution, and if no such desire 
exists, no revolution will occur/' 

308 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

And further: 

"If you think that the people of the Soviet Union have 
any desire themselves and by force to alter the face of the 
surrounding States, then you are badly mistaken. The people 
of the Soviet Union naturally desire that the face of the sur- 
rounding States should change, but this is the business of 
the surrounding States themselves." 

(STALIN, interview to Roy Howard, head of the Scripps- 
Howard newspaper chain in the United States, 

March 1936) 

The Soviet Union stands, and has always stood from the 
outset, on the basis of freedom of self-determination of all 
peoples by the mass of the people themselves. In fact the So- 
viet Union's national policy of giving complete freedom, in- 
cluding the right of secession, to all the former subject peoples 
of the old Tsarist Empire was carried out with unwavering 
completeness even in those countries, such as Finland to 
which the Bolsheviks gave the independence that Kerensky 
denied where the resulting independence became the basis of 
bourgeois counter-revolutionary domination and the persecu- 
tion of the working class. The German revolutionary, Rosa 
Luxemburg, hotly criticised from a "Left" standpoint this Bol- 
shevik principle of complete national freedom as contrary to 
the interests of world socialism; but the outcome has abun- 
dantly justified the deeper understanding represented by the 
line of Lenin and Stalin, not only in the complete solution of 
the national question within the Soviet Union, but also in re- 
spect of the correct basis of development of the world revolu- 
tion and the relationship of the Soviet Union within this 
process. The national policy of the Soviet Union, the unre- 
served recognition of the freedom of self-determination of all 
peoples, and of the equality of all nations and races and their 
right to determine their own conditions of existence, is insep- 
arably bound up with its peace policy; and the union of both 
has destroyed by practical experience the slanders of "Red im- 


In close association with these attempts to create prejudice 
against the Soviet Union have been the charges raised by im- 
perialism against the Soviet Union with regard to the question 
of "propaganda" i.e. the propaganda of communists within 
the capitalist countries (which went on long before the Soviet 
Union existed, and would be going on even if it had never 
come into existence), and the association of these communists 
with the communists in the Soviet Union through the Com- 
munist International, or common international organisation 
of all communists (descended through successive stages from 
the International Communist League founded under the lead- 
ership of Marx and Engels in 1847). The imperialist statesmen 
have from time to time endeavoured to treat interchangeably 
the Soviet Union and the Communist International, and to 
demand the suppression of the activities of the Communist 
International as conducting propaganda hostile to the capital- 
ist regime. It is obvious that a charge of hostile "propaganda" 
comes curiously from the imperialist statesmen who have 
themselves not merely conducted wholesale propaganda in the 
Soviet Union (including the issues of forged copies of Pravda 
from the offices of Scotland Yard for circulation in its terri- 
tories), but have directly subsidised and armed White counter- 
revolutionaries and fomented civil war, and to-day give shelter 
to these same White Guard elements, their literature of open 
incitement to terrorism, assassination and war against the So- 
viet Union, and their military preparations. But what does 
the demand with regard to the Communist International 
amount to? It amounts to the demand that the Russian work- 
ing dass must break off relations with the working class of 
other countries, and that the Soviet Government should con- 
stitute itself ttie policeman of imperialism to enforce such a 
rupture. The demand has only to be stated for its fantastic 
character to be manifest as a direct attack on the basis of a 
workers' State. Such a demand received its fitting answer from 
the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars in 1927: 

"With regard to the question of the working dass in the 
Soviet Union, its rights and its connection with the Labour 

gio WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Movement of the whole world, everybody, even the Con- 
servatives, have to proceed from the fact that our Republic 
is a workers' State, and that precisely, therefore, not only 
the working masses and the workers' organisations, but also 
the Government of our Union can openly express its fra- 
ternal class solidarity with the working class and with the 
workers of other countries. Any attempt now to force the 
working class of the Soviet Union to abandon this natural 
right or to compel our Government to limit the freedom of 
action of the working class in regard to mutual help and 
connection with the working class of other countries, pro- 
ceeds from the endeavour to change the nature of the Soviet 
State itself." 

(A. i. RYKOV, Chairman of the Council of People's 
Commissars, speech to the Fourth All-Union Soviet 

Congress, 1937) 

Step by step these attempts to create prejudice against the 
Soviet Union which were only the expression of the class- 
hostility of imperialism to the socialist State have weakened 
before the dominating realities of the Soviet peace policy, 
which have increasingly enforced recognition from very wide 
circles of bourgeois opinion. By 1935 even unfriendly bour- 
geois opinion, such as that of the organ of British officialism, 
The Times, was compelled to recognise the contrast between 
the peace policy of socialism and the war policy of Fascism: 

"All competent observers state one conviction namely, 
that Russia is anxious for peace." 

(The Times, March 2gth, 1935) 

"Let it be said at once that if any country in Europe has 
any grounds at all for fearing invasion, or the threat of in- 
vasion, it is Russia and the territories that lie on the path 
between her and Germany. Passage after passage in Hitler's 
famous work, Mein Kampf, makes no concealment of Ger- 
manic expansionist aims in that direction. The Fiihrer's 


book is still a kind of lay bible to young Germany; and it is 
an enemy to confidence in Eastern Europe." 

(The Times, May i8th, 1935) 

The peace policy of the Soviet Union has developed through 
a series of stages, corresponding to the growth of Soviet power 
and influence in world politics. In the early stages the main 
task was still resistance to active imperialist aggression, and 
the securing of recognition from a widening series of imperial- 
ist States in order to make possible peaceful relations. During 
this period the outstanding positive achievement in building 
a constructive system of peace based on the equality of nations 
was able to find expression in the relations with the neighbor- 
ing Asiatic nations. The treaties with Persia, Afghanistan and 
Turkey in 1921, as with China in 1924, gave direct expression 
to the break with the principles of imperialism, in renouncing 
all rights and claims enforced by Tsarism, and establishing re- 
lations of friendship and equality. The same principle under- 
lay the Rapallo Treaty of 1922 with Germany, then treated by 
imperialism as a pariah among nations. 

Later, a far-reaching system of treaties of non-aggression 
with all the neighbours of the Soviet Unionexcept Japan, 
which has up to the present refused all offers was developed 
from 1925 onwards. The Soviet Union was the first to ratify 
the Kellogg Pact, while explicitly opposing all the reservations 
of the imperialist Powers which nullified their renunciation of 
war; and a protocol to bring the provisions of the Kellogg 
Pact immediately into force was signed in the beginning of 
1929 on the initiative of the Soviet Union with the Baltic 
States, Poland, Rumania and Turkey. The network of non- 
aggression treaties was further strengthened by the Soviet 
definition of the aggressor, which was adopted by the Security 
Committee of the Disarmament Conference in 1933, and 
which was designed to leave no loophole for the normal pre- 
texts and subterfuges utilised by all imperialist States to cover 
aggression: a collective convention on this basis was signed by 
the Soviet Union (during the World Economic Conference in 
London in 1933 the one positive outcome of that fruitless 

312 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1930 

conference) with the Baltic States, Finland, Poland, Rumania, 
Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, 
as well as remaining open to other signatories. 

So far as peace could be strengthened by pacts and coven- 
ants of non-aggression, the Soviet Union has thus taken the 
lead in this sphere, and accomplished all that could be ac- 
complished. But with rising armaments on all sides, and with 
the manifest advance of imperialism to war, it was clear that 
this was not sufficient. It was necessary for the peace policy of 
the Soviet Union to advance to a further stage in order to 
lead the world fight for peace. 

By 1957, with the growing strength of the Soviet Union, it 
was possible to carry the peace offensive a stage further for- 
ward in the world political sphere with the Soviet disarma- 
ment proposals. Already in 1922 the Soviet Union had pressed 
the issue of disarmament at the Genoa Conference; but the 
issue had been ruled off the agenda by the imperialist Powers. 
In 1927 this was no longer possible. The Soviet Union startled 
the Preparatory Committee of the Disarmament Conference, 
which had already been appointed since 1925 and had been 
disputing interminably without progress, by appearing before 
it to propose disarmament. The Soviet proposals were for 
universal total disarmament to be accomplished in four years. 
These proposals were voted down by all the imperialist Pow- 
ers on the Preparatory Committee and subsequently at the 
Disarmament Conference. This record will not be forgotten, 
as the present armaments race which has followed drives head- 
long forward to war. The direct simplicity of the Soviet pro- 
posals tore down the pacific pretensions of imperialism and 
laid bare the real issues before the common people. The 
spokesmen of imperialism could find no answer save to call 
the proposals "bluff/* However, it is sufficiently evident that, 
if they had been bluff, nothing would have been easier than 
for the imperialist Powers to call the bluff by accepting them. 
The fact that the imperialist Powers, on the contrary, united 
as a body to vote them down, sufficiently showed that they 
were very well aware that the proposals were no bluff, but in 
their view a danger to be fought; and thereby they demonstrat- 


ed their recognition that disarmament is compatible only with 
communism, but that disarmament, in the view of these of- 
ficial representatives of the imperialist Powers, is not compat- 
ible with imperialism. 

After the rejection of the proposals for total disarmament, 
the Soviet Union put forward in 1929 proposals for universal 
partial disarmament by proportional and progressive reduc- 
tion, as well as destruction of all heavy artillery, bombing 
planes, etc. These were likewise rejected. Similarly, when the 
United States in 1932 put forward proposals for the general 
reduction of armaments by one-third, the Soviet Union im- 
mediately supported these proposals as a minimum first step; 
but these proposals were likewise defeated by the other im- 
perialist Powers. 

By 1934 it was clear to all that the Disarmament Confer- 
ence was dead. Every attempt at even the most limited meas- 
ure of disarmament had broken down against the contradic- 
tions of imperialism. Rearmament was sweeping forward. The 
menace of new world war was drawing dose. At this point the 
Soviet Union again came forward with new proposals to face 
the realities of the situation and to make one last attempt to 
avert the menace of war. Since disarmament had failed, there 
remained only one final path to attempt to defeat the war 
danger the path of organising effective guarantees of security 
and mutual assistance against any attempt to make war. These 
proposals were put forward by Litvinov in a speech to the Dis- 
armament Conference in May 1934. He pointed out that all 
attempts at disarmament had failed, and that the danger of 
war was urgent and open. He accordingly proposed: first, that 
the Disarmament Conference should be reconstituted as a 
Permanent Peace Conference to deal immediately with any 
.menace of outbreak of war; and second, that a series of region- 
al pacts of mutual assistance against the aggressor should be 
organised, since pacts of neutrality and non-aggression could 
no longer be regarded as sufficient when certain States were 
openly preparing wars of aggression. 

The Soviet Union took a series of important steps to carry 
out this line. The first was to join the League of Nations in 

314 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

the autumn of 1934. The second was the endeavour to or- 
ganise an Eastern European Security Pact, which finally took 
shape in the Franco-Soviet Pact of May 1935, and the subse- 
quent Mutual Assistance Pact of the Soviet Union and Czecho- 

The joining of the League of Nations by the Soviet Union 
followed on the change in the balance of forces within imper- 
ialism and within the League of Nations. The imperialist 
States most actively driving to war, Nazi Germany and Japan, 
had now left the League of Nations, and were conducting 
their operations outside it and against it. The League of Na- 
tions thus offered the possibility of developing as an organisa- 
tion of States opposed to immediate war, and capable of plac- 
ing an obstacle in the path of war. Such a possibility required 
to be utilised to the utmost. The basic faults of the League, 
both in respect of the imperialist aspects of the Covenant, and 
in respect of the weakness of its machinery for preventing war, 
remained. The Soviet Union, in accepting the invitation to 
join the League, made clear that it had not changed its view 
with regard to these, and that, while loyally collaborating and 
accepting all international obligations to maintain peace in 
accordance with the Covenant, it specifically excluded re- 
sponsibility for those sections of the Covenant, such as the 
mandate system, which expressed the principles of imperialist 
domination and were not in accord with the principles of the 
Soviet Union. These reservations were expressly laid down in 
the statement of Litvinov on joining the League: 

"The Soviet Union is entering into the League as the rep- 
resentative of a new social-economic system, not renouncing 
any of its special features, and like the other States here 
represented preserving intact its personality. . . . 

"Had we taken part in drawing up the Covenant of the 
League, we would have contested certain of its articles. In 
particular, we should have objected to the provision in 
Articles 12 and 15 for the legalisation, in certain instances, of 
war. . . . Further, we should have objected to Article 33 on 


the system of mandates. We also deprecate the absence in 
Article 23 of an undertaking to ensure racial equality. 

"All this, however, has not been important enough to pre- 
vent the Soviet Union from entering the League, especially 
since any new member of an organisation can be morally 
responsible only for decisions made with its participation 
and agreement." 

The question of the Franco-Soviet Pact, and the general 
question of collective security, has been discussed in Chap- 
ter V. 

The peace policy of the Soviet Union has thus reached its 
highest stage at the present point, when the menace of re- 
newed world war is closest and most urgent. Both within the 
League of Nations, through all possible diplomatic channels, 
and directly in the declarations of its representatives to the 
peoples of the world, it is actively leading the fight for peace. 
On the outcome of this fight heavy issues hang. The Fascist 
imperialist war offensive against the Soviet Union goes for- 
ward. In the event of such an offensive the Soviet Union 
stands ready for defence. In the words of Stalin to the Seven- 
teenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 
in 1935: 

"Our foreign policy is clear. It is the policy of preserving 
peace, and developing trade relations with all countries. 
The U.S.S.R. does not think of threatening anyone, much 
less of attacking anyone. We stand for peace and defend the 
cause of peace. But we are not afraid of threats and are 
ready to return blow for blow to the war-mongers. Those 
who desire peace and seek business relations with us will al- 
ways have our support. But those who attempt to attack our 
country will receive a devastating rebuff, in order to teach 
them not to thrust their pigs' snouts into our Soviet gar- 

The peace policy of the Soviet Union cannot in itself con- 
stitute a guarantee against the outbreak of war. This decision 

316 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

rests on the total forces of the world situation, on the one 
hand, on the strength of the forces of imperialism, and es- 
pecially of the Fascist sections of imperialism, driving to war, 
and on the other hand, on the strength of the mass forces 
fighting for peace, and of the elements within imperialism 
opposed to immediate war. But the peace policy of the Soviet 
Union mobilises the maximum forces against the war offens- 
ive, in order, if possible, to prevent the outbreak of new world 
war, and, failing that, prepares the ground that in the event 
of war these forces will continue the struggle, in unity with 
the Soviet Union, against the war-makers and for the final 
victory of peace and socialism. 

Chapter IX 




"The bourgeois period of history has to create the material 
basis of the new world on the one hand, universal intercourse 
founded upon the mutual dependency of mankind, and the 
means of that intercourse; on the other hand, the development 
of the productive powers of man and the transformation of 
material production into a scientific domination of natural 
agencies. Bourgeois industry and commerce create these material 
conditions of a new world in the same way as geological revolu- 
tions have created the surface of the earth. When a great social 
revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch, 
the market of the world and the modern powers of production, 
and subjected them to the common control of the most advanced 
peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that 
Hindoo pagan idol who would not drink the nectar but from the 

skulls of the slain." 

KARL MARX, "The Future Results of British Rule in India/' 
New York Tribune, August 8th, 1853 

from the present survey of the contemporary world situation? 

It is clear that in all spheres we are approaching to an ex- 
tremely critical point. The menace of new world war is the 
most glaring and obvious expression of the present situation. 
But this menace of war is itself only an indication and out- 
come of the gathering issues in every sphere, economic, social 
and political. 

Is a new world war inevitable? This question is to-day being 
asked on every side. 


318 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

This question in fact involves two issues which it is neces- 
sary to distinguish. The ultimate overcoming of war involves 
a transformation of the existing organisation of society. But 
this does not mean that, until such a complete transformation 
can be effected, imperialism must be left free course to war. 
On the contrary, the fight against the present drive of imper- 
ialism to war opens the way to the fight for the final over- 
coming of imperialism. It is therefore necessary to distinguish 
two problems, the immediate and the ultimate, although they 
are in fact closely interrelated. 

The first is whether it is possible in the immediate present 
stage, while imperialism still holds power in the majority of 
countries, to prevent, or at any rate to postpone, the outbreak 
of war, so as to win time for the rising new forces to gain 
strength to carry out the basic solution needed. 

The second, allied to the first, but not yet identical with it, 
is the wider problem of the whole future of world organisa- 
tion, the solution of which can alone finally eliminate war. 
This problem is bound up with the whole question of the 
future of the social order. 

These questions it is now necessary to consider in relation 
to the concrete present world situation, 


The prospect of a second world war is already regarded by 
many as inevitable. In America a book has appeared with the 
title The Second World War. In Britain a Labour College 
textbook is dedicated as a "handbook for those who will take 
part in the second world war." Thus many even of those who 
profess opposition to war have been already sufficiently hyp- 
notised by the basilisk glare of its approaching fires to capitu- 
late beforehand to the theory of its inevitability that is, to 
abandon the struggle against it. 

It is undoubtedly true that imperialism to-day is racing 
headlong to war. But the assumption of inevitability only 
helps its approach. It is also true that war is ultimately in- 
evitable under imperialism, if the power of imperialism is not 


previously destroyed from within by the victory of the work- 
ing-class conquest of power. But war is never inevitable at any 
particular moment, if the forces against it are mobilised in 
time and able to bring their full strength to bear. 

The possibility of such a mobilisation for peace is the cen- 
tral issue of the present immediate stage of the world situa- 

The existing war offensive of imperialism, concentrated to- 
day in the advancing offensive of the Fascist Powers, with the 
support and assistance of the dominant reactionary sections in 
all the imperialist countries, has up to the present won suc- 
cess after success. The extending war offensive of Japan in the 
Far East since 1931 has gone forward unchecked. The war of- 
fensive of Italy in Abyssinia has gone forward unchecked. The 
German Nazi offensive, violation of treaties and open drive to 
war, culminating at the present stage in the remilitarisation 
of the Rhineland in preparation for future war, have equally 
gone forward unchecked. But this does not mean that this en- 
larging war offensive which dominates the present world situ- 
ation is therefore invincible and must necessarily go forward 
to its final outcome in general war. The potentially stronger 
forces of the peoples in all countries, who are opposed to war, 
as well as of those elements within imperialism opposed to 
immediate war, could still check it and bar the road to its fur- 
ther advance, if effectively organised. The Fascist war offensive 
has so far won success after success because the forces for 
peace have not yet been effectively mobilised. But such a mo- 
bilisation is not impossible. 

Such a mobilisation against the immediate menace of war, 
while offering no final solution of the problems of imperial- 
ism, could still win time for the deeper transformation that is 
necessary. It is still possible that the revolutionary crisis may 
develop, as it is showing signs of beginning to develop in sev- 
eral countries, before the outbreak of war. The possibility is 
thus still open to advance to the necessary new forms of social 
organisation and ultimate new forms of world organisation 
without the necessity of passing through the inferno of a sec- 
ond world war, if the immediate menace of war can still be 

320 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

checked for a period. We have still time, though not for long, 
to turn the course of history and to prevent the incalculable 
disaster to humanity which a new world war would represent. 

This issue is the central issue of the present stage of the 
world situation, which it is now necessary to examine in the 
light of the whole development since 1914. 

The basic character of the present epoch of world history is 
that since 1914 the objective conditions have been fully ready 
and urgently calling for a far-reaching social transformation 
by the supersession of imperialism, but that the conscious 
human forces have not yet been ready. The rule of imperial- 
ism, or domination of the life and production of the world by 
rival groups of finance-capital, is not compatible with the 
world organisation which is the urgent need to-day and indis- 
pensable condition of further human advance. The war of 
1914 was the final condemnation and warning that imperial- 
ism could find no path forward or solution of its contradic- 
tions save to involve mankind in successive holocausts. The 
issue was thus laid bare between imperialism and the future 
of civilisation. If the new rising class, the working class, which, 
with its allies in the mass of the population and in the colon- 
ial peoples, could alone supersede imperialism and organise 
society on a world basis without distinction of classes, failed 
to conquer power, then the only outcome could be increasing 
decline, chaos, suffering, renewed world war and spreading 
barbarism, until such time as the fires of experience had 
burned out every illusion in the path and ripened readiness 
for new advance. 

In the first world war of 1914-1918 the working-class forces 
were only partially ready; they won power in Russia; they 
came near to winning power in a series of other countries. But 
in the imperialist countries other than Russia the dominant 
leading forces of the working-class movement, for reasons con- 
nected with the conditions of the previous epoch, were still 
linked by a thousand ties with imperialism, and rejecting the 
path of the necessary socialist revolution, assisted to restore 
the capitalist order. The consequence has been the present 


post-war period. Imperialism had once again to drag the world 
along its deadly course, to demonstrate once again its incapac- 
ity of further development, and after causing heavy suffering 
and an increasing disorganisation of production, to land once 
more in a headlong armaments race and situation of gathering 
world war as before 1914. This is the history of the post-war 
period we have had to traverse. 

Because the lesson of 1914 was not yet drawn over the great- 
er part of the world, because mankind was not yet ready for 
the basic transformation needed, therefore we have to-day to 
face the menace of a "new 1914." On every side it is now being 
said that we are once more "on the eve of 1914." But it is 
necessary to examine the concrete form of this situation a little 
more closely. 

Does this apparent return of the menace of 1914 mean that 
the course of history is repeating itself? On the contrary. In 
fact history knows no simple repetitions; and if its course ap- 
pears again to touch familiar ground, it means that a problem 
which has been already posed and left unsolved is returning 
with redoubled force. But it is returning under new condi- 
tions. The basic objective problem, the overcoming of imper- 
ialism, is the same. But the whole stage of development is dif- 
ferent, owing to the two decades of the general crisis of cap- 
italism that have gone forward. The human forces are trans- 
formed by these two decades of intense experience. The whole 
balance of forces between capitalism and socialism has been 
transformed, to the disadvantage of the former, and to the ad- 
vantage of the latter. Capitalism has developed to new forms, 
corresponding to the more extreme stage of its decay, and find- 
ing most typical expression in Fascism. The rising new forces 
have won new factors of strength, most strongly exemplified in 
the existence of the Soviet Union, as well as in the world ad- 
vance of the working class, of the people's front and of the 
colonial revolution. These changes in the relations of forces, 
in class relations and in international relations, extend over 
every part of the world. Hence the problems to-day are basic- 
ally new in character and require new measurement. And 

322 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

hence also has arisen the possibility of even defeating the 
menace of new world war, or, if that attempt fails, of never- 
theless bringing it very rapidly to a different conclusion. 

The present world situation is no longer the situation of 
1914; and any comparisons between the two, if they go beyond 
the bare fact of the menace of new imperialist war, become 
superficial and misleading, and in danger of blinding us to 
the most important forces, no less than to the most urgent 
problems, of the present new situation with which we are 
faced. The differences are even more important than the sim- 
ilarities; for it is the differences that constitute the peculiar 
character of the new problems, and at the same time help to 
point the way to their solution. 

The war of 1914 was a war between two more or less evenly 
matched imperialist alliances for spoils and territories, for the 
new division of the world. The working class had not yet con- 
quered power in any country. The rival alliances of imperial- 
ist Powers confronted one another with roughly parallel pred- 
atory aims (Britain seeking the German colonies and Meso- 
potamia, Germany seeking the British colonies and Mitteleu- 
ropa, France seeking, not only Alsace-Lorraine, but the left 
bank of the Rhine, Russia seeking Galicia and Constantin- 
ople). In the issue of this war, as between one gang of robbers 
and another securing the booty, the workers could have no in- 
terest, save to utilise the conflict for their own class conquest 
of power. This was the situation of the war of 1914, and the 
consequent line of fight against the imperialist war of 1914, as 
laid down by Lenin and carried out by the Bolsheviks in 

To-day the issue of the new division of the world is develop- 
ing once more within imperialism to the point of conflict. But 
it is developing in a new and peculiar form corresponding to 
the special conditions after over two decades of die general 
crisis of capitalism. It is developing in a world in which cap- 
italism has gone very much further in decay, in which the 
revolutionisation of the working class and of the colonial peo- 
ples has made great advances, in which socialism holds power 
over one-sixth of the earth and in which the capitalist dictat- 


orship has developed in a series of countries to the new forms 
of Fascism, or the concentrated power of the most aggressive, 
chauvinist and reactionary elements of finance-capital organ- 
ised for war. All these new conditions have transformed the 
character of the advance of imperialism to war. It is not only 
that to the previous types of inter-imperialist war, and of im- 
perialist war on a colonial people or for the subjection of a 
small nation, has been added the new type of imperialist war 
against socialism, against the Soviet Union, with this new issue 
affecting all other alignments; the relations within imperial- 
ism have also changed; and the inner social political situation 
in the imperialist countries has changed, 

On the side of imperialism, the most important new devel- 
opment of the present stage is Fascism. Fascism appears as the 
open terrorist dictatorship of capitalism in extreme decay 
against the rising revolt of the working class. But Fascism is at 
the same time the highest expression of organisation for war. 
These two aspects of Fascism are inseparably interlinked. On 
the one hand, modern totalitarian war requires the complete 
crushing of all popular resistance, the wiping out of all in- 
dependent working-class organisation or even liberal-progress- 
ive or pacifist currents, and the organisation of the entire 
population and economy for war. This is the task of Fascism 
in the domestic sphere. On the other hand, Fascism, because 
it cannot solve the economic contradictions of capitalism 
which underlie its rise, is driven to foreign adventure and war 
for its attempted solution. This policy is the expression of the 
policy of the most reactionary, chauvinist and imperialist sec- 
tions of finance-capital of which Fascism is the organ. Fascism 
is the most complete organisation of modern imperialism for 

The integral connection of the Fascist system of State or- 
ganisation and "totalitarian war" is expressed in all Fascist 
literature, alike in the countries where Fascism has won power 
and in the countries where it still seeks to win power. Refer- 
ence may be made to the official German military booklet on 
The Military Significance of the National Socialist Revolu- 
tion, by Major Jost, head of the Press Department of the Ger- 

324 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

man War Ministry, issued with a preface by General von 

Blomberg, the Minister for War: 

"The writer shows that the form of the National-Socialist 
State corresponds with the requirements of modern war 
which demands all the moral, physical and material re- 
sources of the State. He recalls the divorce between strategy 
and politics in the pre-war period which caused the totali- 
tarian nature of war to be forgotten. As Chief of the State, 
Leader of the Party and supreme Commander-in-Chief of 
the armed forces, Adolf Hitler is the master of Germany, 
with power in his hands for which there is scarcely any pre- 
cedent in history. All opposition between soldier and citizen, 
between civilian and military thinking, has been resolved 
in his person/' 

(Berlin correspondent, The Times, February syth, 1936) 

The new social-political conception is described in the follow- 
ing terms by the Deutsche Wehr, the professional organ of 
Hitler's Officer-Corps: 

"A new world has come into being, for which war is frank- 
ly a postulate, the measure of all things, and in which the 
soldier lays down the law and rules the roost. . . . Every 
human and social activity is justified only when it aids 
preparation for war." 

(Deutsche Wehr, December 1935, quoted in 

ALBERT MULLER, Germany's War Machine) 

The same conception was expressed by Mussolini in his speech 
to the Assembly of Corporations in March 1936: 

"The regulating plan of Italian economy is dominated by 
one premiss the inevitability that the nation must be weld- 
ed into one concrete warlike bloc. When and how war will 
break out no one can say, but the wheel of destiny runs fast. 
... We are moving towards a period in which these in- 
dustries (the key industries) will have neither the time nor 


the power to work for the private consumer. They must 
work exclusively, or almost exclusively, for the armed forces 
of the nation." 

(MUSSOLINI, speech to the Second National Assembly 

of Corporations, March 1936) 

The yearning of British military opinion towards a similar 
system may be seen in the article on "The Military Implica- 
tions of Fascism," by Major-General H. Rowan-Robinson, 
C.B., C.M.G., which appeared in the Army, Navy and Air 
Force Gazette in 1934. In this article the writer argued that 
the country would be most efficiently organised for war if the 
Fascist system were introduced "and the general ideas of the 
leader' of the B.U.F. hold the field": 

"As regards industrial preparation against the emergency 
of war, which is almost as essential nowadays as the preser- 
vation and training of combatants, a Ministry of Corpor- 
ations dealing with every branch of trade and industry 
would clearly be of great value, for it would enable inter- 
departmental procedure to be simplified." 

For similar conceptions in French military circles, reference 
may be made to the book of General Mordacq on The Lessons 
of 1914 and the Next War, especially chapter viii on "Political 
Lessons for the Next War": 

"With regard to internal politics, they should for practical 
purposes cease to exist. The Chief of the Government should 
receive full confidence and the most extended powers." 
(GENERAL MORDACQ, Les Legons de 1914 et la 

prochaine guerre) 

Fascism develops historically in close association with the mil- 
itary organisation of imperialism. Both in Italy and in Ger- 
many the Fascist movement developed from the outset and 
was assisted to power under the fostering care of the military 
authorities (see the present writer's Fascism and Social Revo- 

WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

lution, published in 1934, for a further analysis of this pro- 

The tendency to Fascism exists increasingly in all contemp- 
orary imperialist States, and is backed by the most reactionary 
sections of finance-capital, and by considerable sections of the 
higher military, police and bureaucratic authorities. But it is 
in the countries where the full Fascist dictatorship has been 
established, in Nazi Germany, in Fascist Italy and in Fascist- 
militarist Japan among the leading Powers (as also, in vary- 
ing degree, in Fascist Poland, in Fascist Hungary, etc.) that 
the most complete organisation of the entire State for war has 
been realised. These Powers are at the same time the challeng- 
ing revisionist Powers in the developing conflicts of imperial- 
ism for the new division of the world. Thus it is the Fascist 
Powers which are the spearhead of the modern drive of im- 
perialism to war. It is also the Fascist Powers which lead the 
imperialist crusade against the Soviet Union. 

This role of the Fascist forces as the main forces driving to 
war in the present period is not only a question of the direct 
role of the Fascist Powers in the first place, of Germany, Po- 
land, Italy or Japan, but also takes on a wider character in 
that the similar forces in the other countries which are not 
Fascist are in sympathy with the Fascist States and work in 
dose association with them. This is particularly marked in the 
case of British imperialism, where the dominant forces of the 
National Government gave strong support to the initial stages 
of the Japanese offensive, continuously sought to reach a cor- 
rupt agreement with Mussolini at the expense of Abyssinia, 
and have up to the present worked in close alliance with Hit- 
ler in every move of the Nazi offensive. Similarly in France 
the Right Wing forces not only stood for the alliance with 
Mussolini, but also work for co-operation with Hitler against 
the Franco-Soviet Pact. The reasons for this support of lead- 
ing sections of imperialism in the non-Fascist States to. the Fas- 
cist war offensive have been analysed in previous chapters, and 
cover a variety of grounds, including reasons of inter-imperi- 
alist antagonisms, reasons of class-sympathies to the Fascist 
dictatorships as the bulwark against socialist revolution, and 


hopes of diverting the Fascist war offensive to war against the 
Soviet Union. The result is a certain character of linking 
across countries of the most reactionary sections of imperial- 
ism in the Fascist war offensive. The fight against the new 
world war is thus closely intertwined with the inner social- 
political fight in every country. 

This Fascist war offensive is the present heightened stage of 
the offensive of Fascism against the peoples all over the world. 
The Fascist war offensive, led in the first place by Germany, 
Italy and Japan, with the support of dominant forces of Brit- 
ish imperialism, and of powerful sections in all the other im- 
perialist States, is the main, dominating drive of imperialism 
to war to-day. The key to the fight for peace at the present 
point lies in the understanding of this concrete situation. 
While it is necessary to hold continuously in view the whole 
network of imperialist antagonisms, and to maintain the fight 
against all the war-policies of every imperialism, it is against 
this most menacing war offensive of the present moment that 
the main fight needs to be directed at the present stage. 

Thus the battle of imperialism for the new division of the 
world is developing to-day in a new and peculiar form. The 
revisionist, challenging Powers which openly press forward to 
war are at the same time the Fascist Powers. Against them the 
Powers in possession, having more to lose by the menace of 
war, and also not having their organisation for war brought to 
the same pitch of preparation as the Fascist States, are rela- 
tively thrown on to the defensive; and leading sections within 
these Powers (in opposition to the pro-Fascist sections) tem- 
porarily strive to delay war. This division finds its reflection 
in the changed situation in the League of Nations. The Fas- 
cist war-making Powers pass out of the League to pursue their 
war aims with greater freedom. The remaining imperialist 
Powers under challenge seek, with considerable hesitations 
and inconsistencies, to utilise the League to safeguard their 
possessions and delay the outbreak of war. For this reason they 
begin (with considerable divisions of opinion within the rul- 
ing class) to give a certain encouragement to the conception 
of collective security and to the r61e of the League as an in- 

WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

strument for the collective maintenance of peace; and this 
conception is actively taken up by the majority of the smaller 
States within the League, which, directly threatened by the 
war plans of Fascism, look to the League for collective pro- 
tection. This situation within the camp of the major imper- 
ialist Powers gives certain possibilities to the forces fighting 
for peace to utilise these contradictions in the imperialist 
camp in order to place obstacles in the way of the advance to 

The role of the smaller States become of especial importance 
in this situation. The Fascist war offensive directly threatens 
the existence and independence of the smaller countries in 
Europe. All the smaller countries are afraid of the menace of 
war, since they all know that at any moment their hour may 
come. The Baltic States know that Germany has its eyes on 
them. The same applies to Belgium and Denmark. Austria is 
the battleground between German and Italian aims of dom- 
ination, with corresponding rival forms of Fascism struggling 
for mastery. The Balkan States are faced with the rival ex- 
pansion aims of Germany and Italy. The Little Entente holds 
together so far in opposition to the revisionist offensive. For 
this reason the majority of the smaller States are passionately 
opposed to the new world war. It is evident that a struggle of 
any one of these smaller States against the Fascist expansion 
offensive would bear the character of a struggle of national 
liberation for the maintenance of national independence (a 
type of struggle which Lenin in 1916, in his article on the 
Junius pamphlet, indicated might arise in Europe in the 
decades after the first world war, if the working-class revolu- 
tion failed to conquer, and if reaction established itself in 
Europe, and which could then bear a progressive and neces- 
sary character). The interests of the fight for peace, no less 
than of the international working dass, would necessarily sup- 
port this struggle against the Fascist offensive. The smaller 
countries in Europe look anxiously towards the League of 
Nations for defence against aggression; and this situation 
leads to increasing tendencies within the smaller countries to 


look to the Soviet Union's fight for peace and for resolute col- 
lective defence against aggression as the leader of their fight. 

Thus a new alignment of forces, corresponding to the pres- 
ent contradictions, and offering certain possibilities to the 
fight for peace, has developed within the camp of imperialism. 
What of the situation of the working class and of the popular 
forces of opposition to war and Fascism? Here also far-reach- 
ing changes have developed from the situation of 1914. 

The first and most obvious change, completely transforming 
the situation from 1914, is the working-class conquest of power 
over one-sixth of the world and the victorious building up of 
socialism in the Soviet Union to the position already of the 
second strongest industrial Power in the world and the largest 
single State in the world. In contrast to the situation of 1914, 
socialism, through the Soviet Union, is able to act directly in 
the sphere of State-relations and to exercise its influence on 
the side of peace. This exercises a powerful crystallising effect 
on the struggle of the smaller States for peace, as well as on the 
conflict of forces within the imperialist States. The Soviet 
Union becomes the leader of the fight for peace on a world 
scale in the existing relations of States. 

At the same time the Fascist war offensive directs one main 
side of its thrust against the Soviet Union. Powerful sections of 
capitalism, seeing in the victory of socialism in the Soviet 
Union the ultimate doom of capitalism on a world scale, ad- 
vance to war on the Soviet Union. This introduces a new com- 
plication into the imperialist alignment for war and the whole 
issue of threatening world war. This situation may extend fur- 
ther. Soviet China reveals already the beginning of the power 
of the workers and peasants in extending districts in China. 
The possibility of the workers advancing to power in a series 
of countries draws into view. The issue of war in the present 
epoch is thus no longer only the issue of war of imperialism 
against imperialism, or of imperialism against a colonial peo- 
ple or weaker nation, but also the issue of imperialism against 
socialism or the workers' power; and even inter-imperialist 
war may rapidly turn into war on the Soviet Union. In this 

330 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

issue the workers, and the masses of the population in all coun- 
tries, are by no means disinterested, since the territory won by 
socialism in any part of their world is their fortress; but are 
vitally interested that in the event of war on the Soviet Union, 
or on the workers' power in any country, the enemies of the 
Soviet Union, or of the workers' power in any country, shall 
be defeated. Similarly, the fight of the Soviet Union for peace 
is identical with the interests of the masses throughout the 
world. This alignment is a new situation in world politics. 

Second, within the working class in the capitalist countries 
important changes have taken place. The war of 1914 gave rise 
to the formation of the Communist International, the inter- 
national revolutionary organisation of the working class. The 
transformation thus begun has been carried forward through 
the experience and struggle of the succeeding two decades. 
The decline of capitalism has continuously undermined the 
position of the old aristocracy of labour; and the experiences 
of 1914 to 1936 have dealt heavy blows to old illusions of pro- 
gress within imperialism. This process has been accelerated in 
the most recent period by the effects of the world economic 
crisis, by the blows of Fascism to the old legalist-democratic 
illusions, and by the contrasting example of the victorious out- 
come of the revolutionary path in the Soviet Union and the 
disastrous outcome of the reformist path in the capitalist 
world. In consequence, the basis of the old opportunist social 
democratic policies and leadership has been weakened; the 
mass of the workers are moving towards a new orientation. 
This process is reflected in the present crisis of the Second In- 
ternational and the advance of the united working-class front. 
The united working-class front is growing out of and advanc- 
ing in the struggle against Fascism and against war. Thus the 
united working-dass front is not only the central core of the 
front against war and Fascism, for organising the mass struggle 
against the war policies of imperialism, but is at the same time 
preparing the conditions for the further struggle, if imperial- 
ism none the less unlooses war. 

Parallel to this transformation within the working class de- 
velop corresponding changes within other strata of the popu- 


lation, undermining the stability of the old order and weaken- 
ing the basis of the rule of finance-capital. The crisis of the 
so-called "middle class" or intermediate strata, of the small 
propertied elements, of the urban petty bourgeoisie, intellect- 
uals and professional strata, and of the mass of the peasantry 
or small farmers, has developed sharply with the world eco- 
nomic crisis and its consequences. These elements were previ- 
ously the main basis of stability of the rule of finance-capital 
in opposition to the working dass, of political apathy and 
class-conciliation. To-day they are drawn ever more actively 
into the political struggle in the endeavour to find a solution 
for their problems. A section falls temporarily a victim to the 
lures of Fascism, which holds out to them empty promises only 
to strike them down more heavily after coming to power. But 
in the majority of countries increasing sections move to alli- 
ance with the working dass, recognising that their interests 
are bound up with those of the working class in the common 
struggle against war, against Fascism, and against the reaction- 
ary economic and political policies of finance-capital. This 
finds expression in the development of a broad "people's 
front" in a number of countries, embracing the mass of the 
population, with the working class as the central leadership, 
in opposition to Fascism and to war. Thus the inner social and 
political situation in the capitalist countries, both in the Fas- 
cist and non-Fascist countries, is markedly different from that 
prevailing in 1914, and reveals a far higher degree of tension, 
instability and sharpening class struggle. 

Finally, the colonial peoples are advanced in their struggle 
for liberation from imperialist rule to a point with which 1914 
affords no comparison. Soviet China has maintained its inde- 
pendent State organisation for the better part of a decade, and 
is the centre of the gathering combined front of all the forces 
of the Chinese national revolution; the Indian revolution is 
maturing, with the increasing r61e of the workers and peasants 
in the forefront of the struggle against imperialism; Turkish 
nationalism has established its independent authority in 
armed struggle against the imperialist forces, and maintains 
its independence, on a basis of close friendship with the Soviet 

332 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Union; all the African peoples are awakening; while in a series 
of South American countries the national liberation move- 
ments are advancing towards the conquest of power. The 
foundations of imperialism are being undermined. This situ- 
ation leads the dominant imperialist Powers, with large colon- 
ial possessions, to hesitate the more before the prospect of a 
new world war, at the same time as the Fascist war-making 
Powers advance to fix their stranglehold on the rising colonial 
peoples (Italy in Africa, Japan on China and India, etc.) and 
thus reveal the Fascist war offensive as equally the direct en- 
emy of the colonial peoples. 

The struggle of the colonial peoples, the most powerful 
allies of the working dass against imperialism, becomes an in- 
tegral part of the popular front against the imperialist war- 
makers. This has been significantly shown in the war of the 
Abyssinian people for their independence against the offensive 
of Italian Fascism. The sympathies, alike of all the colonial 
peoples in Africa and Asia, of the international working class, 
of the people's front in the capitalist countries, of the smaller 
countries and of the Soviet Union, were openly on the side of 
the Abyssinian struggle for independence; the sympathies of 
the Fascist and pro-Fascist elements in the imperialist coun- 
tries were no less openly on the side of the Fascist offensive; 
the issue became an issue of internal politics in a series of 
countries; and the League of Nations became an arena of con- 
flict of the opposing forces. There could be discerned here a 
symptomatic preliminary indication of the gathering confront- 
ation of two camps on a world scale. 

What is the conclusion to be drawn from these gathering 
new forces of the world situation in relation to the menace of 
war and the fight for peace? It is evident that the drive of im- 
perialism to war has reached an extreme stage of intensity with 
the present Fascist war offensive. This menace dominates the 
immediate world situation. But it is also evident that the 
forces which could be mobilised for peace in the present bal- 
ance of relations, owing to the increased strength of the rising 
class forces, owing to the greater disintegration of capitalism, 
owing to the existence of the Soviet Union, and owing to the 


divisions within the imperialist camp, are potentially stronger 
than at any previous time, and could, if united, prove strong- 
er than the Fascist war offensive and hold it in check. Such an 
effective mobilisation for peace, however, does not yet exist; 
the war offensive up to the present is gaining ground at an 
accelerating pace. Herein lies the central problem of the pres- 
ent world situation. 

If the immediate Fascist war offensive, which constitutes the 
main drive of imperialism to war in the present phase, can be 
checked, then the way is opened to rapid advance in every part 
of the world, including in the Fascist countries; and this ad- 
vance can lead the way in the near future to a decisive change 
in the balance of forces against imperialism and thus towards 
eliminating the real causes of war. But the governing present 
issue is to mobilise every force to check the immediate war of- 
fensive* The fight for peace is to-day the centre of the fight 
against the main offensive of the dominant, most aggressive 
forces of finance-capital. 

What are the conditions for such an effective mobilisation 
for peace in the present stage? 

The first necessity is the unity of the mass forces in all coun- 
tries in the struggle for peace. All calculations of peace which 
are based on confidence in the actions of the imperialist Gov- 
ernments are doomed to failure, because the imperialist Gov- 
ernments by the law of their being can only pursue their sep- 
arate interests and are incapable of a collective aim. Hence the 
failure up to date of the League of Nations. Only when the 
independent mass struggle for peace is strong, can it also com- 
pel die actions of particular imperialist Governments, in cer- 
tain situations, to subserve a particular immediate aim of the 
struggle. The main base of the peace front is and must be the 
mass front of conscious and active struggle for peace in all 
countries, in unity with the Soviet Union and with the small 
nations fearing imperialist war. 

The building of such a mass front for peace on a world scale 
requires the unity of the international working class, the 
strongest force in opposition to imperialism and the leader of 
the fight against Fascism and war. The mass front for peace 

334 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

can only be effective, and can only be freed from imperialist 
influence which will otherwise distort its line to serve the in- 
terests of imperialism and war, if the working class is able to 
assume the leading r61e within it. The international unity of 
the working class is still hindered by the opposition of the 
dominant minority in the Second International, which has up 
to the time of writing refused the proposals of the Communist 
International for an international united front. This is the 
gravest present weakness in the front for peace; and the re- 
sponsibility for this rests on the shoulders of the leadership of 
the British Labour Party, who have up to the present barred 
the way to the wish of the majority in the Second Internation- 
al for negotiations for a united front. It is urgently necessary, 
in the interests of the fight for peace and of a common front 
against the menacing war offensive, no less than of the whole 
future of the international working-class movement, that these 
obstacles should be rapidly overcome. Such a realisation of in- 
ternational working-class unity, on a basis of active common 
struggle against Fascism and war, could rapidly transform the 
character of the world situation. 

While the working class is the decisive centre and main force 
of the struggle for peace against the imperialist war offensive, 
the working class can to-day win allies in the struggle from 
very wide strata of the whole population in every country. The 
common immediate aims of the fight for peace can win the 
support of widely differing elements and concentrate the fight 
against the dominant sections of finance-capital driving to war 
or assisting the Fascist war offensive. The examples of the 
"people's front" in France, Spain and other countries have 
shown the possibilities of such a broad popular front and the 
influence it can exercise on the whole line of policy in the 
given country and for mobilising the fight against the war 

Such a mass peace front, fighting in unity with the Soviet 
Union and with the smaller nations fearing war, can exercise 
a decisive influence in the present stage of international rela- 
tions to check the war offensive. For this purpose it is essential 
for the mass peace front to pursue a positive and clearly de- 


fined policy for peace in the present immediate questions of 
international relations. The possibility for this is presented by 
the existing divisions within the imperialist camp. While one 
section of imperialism, represented by the Fascist Powers and 
by the pro-Fascist elements in the other imperialist States, 
drives openly to war, another section, including powerful ele- 
ments in the non-Fascist imperialist States, hesitates at pres- 
ent, for reasons previously explained, and seeks for the time 
being to delay the immediate outbreak of war. This is the ob- 
jective situation which offers the possibility for the mass peace 
front to utilise this antagonism in order to hinder the war of- 
fensive. On this basis the possibility arises to build up a collect- 
ive peace front, consisting of the Soviet Union, the smaller 
States and those imperialist States which seek to delay immed- 
iate war, sufficiently powerful to hold in check the Fascist war 
offensive. The question of such a collective peace front is at 
present the most critical question of international relations. 
The effectiveness of such a collective peace front would re- 
quire that all the participating States should undertake clearly 
defined obligations of mutual assistance against aggression, 
that a definition of the aggressor such as that put forward by 
the Soviet Union and already adopted by a number of States 
should be universally adopted as the basis, and that the obliga- 
tions of mutual assistance should be universal, not local. This 
objective would require either the strengthening of the pres- 
ent basis of the League of Nations, or a general security pact, 
or the extension of the Franco-Soviet Pact by a corresponding 
Anglo-Soviet Pact and similar agreements. If such a collective 
peace front could be effectively realised (its effectiveness 
would depend on the strength of the mass peace front), then 
it could bar the way to the immediate war offensive. Such a 
'collective peace front should be equally open to the participa- 
tion of the Fascist States on the same terms as other States; 
but their refusal should not be made a pretext for its abandon- 
ment. If the existing Franco-Soviet Pact were reinforced by a 
corresponding Anglo-Soviet Pact (equally open to other sig- 
natories), if British policy could be transformed by mass pres- 
sure from its existing diplomatic support of Nazi Germany and 

336 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

refusal of all commitments for peace outside Western Europe, 
to unity with the Soviet Union, France, the Little Entente, the 
Balkan Entente and the smaller countries for the collective 
maintenance of peace against aggression, then a strong barrier 
could be built in the immediate present situation against the 
Fascist -war offensive, and the Fascist States would be left with 
no alternative save either to enter into such a collective system, 
or to remain impotent outside it, biding their time in the hope 
of its disruption. 

The question of a collective peace front has aroused wide- 
spread controversies. Some of these controversial issues have al- 
ready been considered in principle in Chapter V (Section 4. 
"Collective Security"). In the forefront of the fight stands the 
direct opposition of the reactionary and pro-Fascist sections of 
imperialism to any system of collective security. These advo- 
cate the "localisation of war," and either openly attack the 
League of Nations or seek to weaken still further its basis, to 
remove Articles 10 and 16, or to replace it by isolationist re- 
gional systems, and equally seek to destroy the Franco-Soviet 
Pact. The r61e of these sections in assisting the Fascist path to 
war is obvious. 

But there is also a considerable degree of controversy on the 
question of a collective peace front within the camp of the 
supporters of peace. These difficulties have in part arisen from 
the tendency of a section of pacifist opinion (the typical tend- 
ency of bourgeois pacifism and reformism) to preach exclusive 
reliance on diplomatic collective machinery for peace, that is, 
on the action of imperialist Governments, as a substitute for 
the independent mass struggle for peace. All experience has 
shown the illusory and dangerous character of this line, which 
leads to the passivity of the masses and the free play of imper- 
ialist policy, and thus in the end assists the advance to war. 
The effectiveness of any collective machinery for peace de- 
pends on the effectiveness of the independent mass struggle 
for peace, with the action of the working class in the forefront. 
The fight against the Fascist war offensive requires equally the 
fight against Fascism and the war-policies of imperialism with- 
in each country. 


On the other hand, in reaction against this tendency, there 
has arisen the alternative tendency which takes a completely 
negative line on the question of a collective peace front in the 
present situation, and sees in it only the danger of unity of the 
working class with the bourgeoisie. This tendency, in the name 
of opposition to imperialism, objectively supports the line of 
the most reactionary pro-Fascist sections of imperialism in 
their opposition to the collective maintenance of peace, and 
thus assists the Fascist war offensive. The independence of the 
working class from the bourgeoisie in every situation is the 
first condition of the fight against imperialist war; but this 
does not mean that the working class must not utilise, as Len- 
in repeatedly pointed out, every factor and every differentia- 
tion, however small, in the camp of the bourgeoisie in order 
to further its aims in a given tactical situation. To fail to do 
this is to play with the question of war and to fail to fight seri- 
ously for peace. Allied to this is the tendency which preaches 
the ultimate "inevitability" of war under capitalism, presents 
socialism as the doctrinaire ultimate alternative, and on this 
basis surrenders the initiative in the present situation to im- 
perialism, inculcates the passivity and impotence of the masses 
in the face of the menacing advance to war, and thus assists 
the war offensive. 

In other sections of the camp of supporters of peace the fear 
is expressed that the line of the collective peace front will only 
lead to the formation of rival alliances and the "encirclement" 
of the Fascist States, with the ultimate outcome in war, and 
that the correct solution lies in reconciliation with the Fascist 
States by concessions to their demands, a re-partition of col- 
onies, etc. Once again this tendency only assists the war offens- 
ive. The line of the collective peace front, to participation in 
which the Fascist States are equally invited, cannot be regard- 
ed as equivalent to the "encirclement" policies of rival alli- 
ances. It is perfectly true that the existing status quo, which is 
thus defended against aggression, is no ideal; but the solution 
of this lies outside the conditions of imperialism and cannot 
be found within imperialism; in the immediate present situa- 
tion the main task is to check the war offensive. The dream of 

338 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

a peaceful and "just" redivision of colonial spoils and areas of 
exploitation within imperialism is an illusory and reactionary 
dream, incapable of realisation in face of the insatiable ap- 
petites of the rival imperialisms. In practice each concession 
only whets the appetite for more; the whole experience of the 
five years since 1931 has shown that the policy of continuous 
capitulation to the extending Fascist offensive has only accel- 
erated the advance to war. On the other hand, the line of the 
collective peace front, if fully and effectively carried out, can 
bar the road to the present war offensive, since the Fascist 
dictatorships would not attempt the risk of aggression against 
the certainty of a superiority of forces against them. It is the 
uncertainty, and the elements of support from within the rest 
of the imperialist camp, that encourage the aggression and 
thus make certain the advance to war. At the same time the 
closing of the road to war for the Fascist dictatorships is the 
most direct help to the peoples in the Fascist States; the inner 
contradictions of the regime are intensified by the lack of out- 
let in war; and the peoples in the Fascist States are consequent- 
ly in a stronger position to overthrow their oppressors. 

It is of the greatest importance that these many questions of 
controversy within the camp of the supporters of peace, which 
at present hinder effective mobilisation and concentration of 
the full forces of the fight against the war offensive, should be 
cleared as rapidly as possible, and that an effective common 
line, utilising every possibility for peace, should be developed. 

The fight for a real collective peace front, while constitut- 
ing no final guarantee against the outbreak of war (in view 
of the extreme instability of the imperialist forces), and there- 
fore no substitute for the mass struggle against imperialism 
which can alone be finally decisive, requires to be actively car- 
ried forward in the present stage by the mass forces of the 
struggle for peace as a means to block the road to the Fascist 
war offensive. 

Does this line of fight for a collective front, also including 
imperialist States, for the maintenance of peace in the present 
situation against the immediate danger of the Fascist war of- 
fensive mean that the danger of war can, in accordance with 


the recipes of liberal-pacifism, be exorcised within imperialism 
i.e. that imperialism can be turned into its opposite? On this 
question there can be no room for misunderstanding, or for 
regarding the line of so-called collective security as a substi- 
tute for the necessary line of mass struggle against imperi- 
alism. For those who tend to regard this line as equivalent to 
a concession to liberal-pacifist illusions, may be recommended 
the words of Litvinov in 1933: 

"We know the nature of capitalist States, the nature of 
imperialism, its foreign problems and functions; basically 
these problems and functions do not change. What changes 
is the tactics pursued for solving these problems and their 
application to the historically changing circumstances. It is 
these changing tactics which it is the custom to call diplo- 
macy. The fundamental feature of a capitalist and particu- 
larly of an imperialist State is that it places before itself 
foreign objectives the realisation of which it cannot con- 
ceive without the application of force, without war. . , . 

"But not all capitalist States at any or every time or al- 
ways desire war to the same extent. Any, even the most im- 
perialist, State, at any given time, may become strongly 
pacifist. This happens when it has either suffered a defeat 
in war, and therefore requires a certain interval before it 
can be ready for a new war, or when it has as antagonist a 
far more powerful State or group of States and the general 
political situation is unfavourable; or it may happen when 
a country has become over-satiated with victories and con- 
quests and requires a certain period of time for the assimi- 
lation of these conquests. There are also other factors which 
may predispose countries against war: for instance, internal 
disturbances, economic weakness, etc." 

(LITVINOV, speech to the Central Executive 

Committee of the Soviet Union, December 1933) 

The basic policy of all capitalism and imperialism is war. 
The pacific tendencies which arise from time to time on the 
part of particular capitalist or imperialist States seeking to 

340 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

avoid war in certain situations or periods are the temporary 
reflection of special, concrete situations for limited periods, 
and are only valid so long as these conditions exist. The pos- 
sibilities of utilising these pacific tendencies are therefore only 
temporary possibilities, and no permanent solution of the 
problem of war or its causes. But the utilisation of these tem- 
porary possibilities is of the greatest importance, not for per- 
manently eliminating war within capitalism this aim is the 
illusory ideal of liberal-pacifismbut for delaying its out- 
break. This is the immediate or first objective of the struggle 
for peace. 

Why is it of such importance to delay by every means the 
outbreak of a new world war, if under imperialism war is ul- 
timately inevitable? 

First, because a new World War would be an incalculable 
disaster for humanity, involving material, human and cul- 
tural destruction without parallel. A second world war would 
not prevent the ultimate victory of the socialist revolution; 
but that victory would in such a case have to come by the 
heaviest, most costly and most bloodstained path of suffering 
and destruction, and would be faced with a far more labori- 
ous and slower task of reconstruction. So long as there is the 
least possibility, by delaying the outbreak of new world war, 
to reach the necessary goal of social transformation before its 
outbreak, and thereby prevent war once and for all, every 
effort is worth making to achieve this. 

Second, because every delay in the outbreak of the threaten- 
ing world war increases the relative strength of the socialist 
forces throughout the world and weakens the relative strength 
of imperialism. Every year of peace increases the gulf between 
the advance of the Soviet Union and the decline of the cap- 
italist world. Every year of peace extends the possibility for 
the workers to mobilise their forces, realise unity on a nation- 
al and international scale, and carry forward their class front 
against capitalism, so as to be ready for the future decisive 
struggles. And similarly every year that the outbreak of world 
war is delayed sees the further advance of the colonial forces 
of liberation and the further undermining of imperialism. 


Therefore with every year that is gained the balance is shifting 
in favour of the rising forces, and the possibility is increased, 
either to overthrow imperialism before the outbreak of war, 
or, if this is still not possible and war first breaks out, to be 
capable of more rapidly transforming it into the victory of 
socialism in a decisive series of countries. 

Finally, because the struggle for peace directly assists to mo- 
bilise the forces and prepare the ground for tie further strug- 
gle against imperialism. The peace front unites, around the 
central core of the international working class, the interme- 
diate strata, the peasantry and the majority of the population 
in all countries, to whom war is only disaster and calamity, no 
less than the colonial peoples struggling against imperialist 
domination. Such a far-reaching alignment on a world scale, 
isolating the finance-capitalist oligarchy, and drawing the 
masses of the world's population around the hegemony of the 
working class, is indispensable to the final victory of world 

The struggle for peace can from its nature achieve no final 
solution of the problem of war. Since war is inherent in the 
contradictory monopolist interests and State system of imperi- 
alism, the final elimination of war depends on the realisation 
of a unitary form of world organisation which eliminates 
these contradictions. The struggle for peace can only fulfill a 
temporary and partial rdle in relation to this deeper aim. It is 
this ultimate question of world organisation, which becomes 
more and more visibly urgent in the conditions of to-day, that 
we need finally to consider on the basis of the foregoing sur- 
vey of the forces of the world situation. 


The completion of our survey thus brings us once again to 
the basic problem of world organisation; but it brings us to 
it this time after a closer analysis of the concrete conditions 
of the problem and its solution. 

The war of 1914 revealed that world economy is beating 
against the barriers of the existing State forms. The produc- 

342 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

tive forces at the present stage of technique and development 
raise the possibility and the necessity of an all-embracing 
world economic organisation for their most effective utilisa- 
tion. But they thereby sound the doom of the existing system 
of independent sovereign States and imperialist groupings. 

Imperialism appeared on the scene as the representative 
and bearer within the conditions of capitalism of the attempt 
to overcome the existing State limitations and reach out to a 
wider world area of unified control. The gospel of imperi- 
alism was preached as the supposed higher conception of the 
necessity under modern conditions of a large-scale, super-na- 
tional, wider, expanding economic-political area in place of 
the "narrow" conceptions of the old school ("Little England- 
ers," etc.). 

But in fact imperialism only raised the initial contradiction 
to a higher plane. The conflict of the nation-States passed into 
the modern conflict of the great imperialist blocs, with the 
smaller States either passing into the r61e of satellites, depend- 
ants or pawns, or maintaining a precarious independence as 
the buffers at the point of inter-play of a larger imperialist 
antagonism. And the conflict of the imperialist blocs proved 
to be more deadly than the old. 

Thus the supposed solution through imperialism was not 
only false at the root, in its basis in colonial subjection and 
exploitation in place of true economic co-operation, with the 
consequent inevitable undermining and eventual break-up 
of the attempted unified structures; but it equally failed to 
resolve the conflict at the top and only reproduced it in in- 
tensified form. If the battle of the few giants replaces more 
and more the skirmishing of the many pygmies, the change of 
the scale of the divisions has not necessarily brought unity 
nearer on this basis; on the contrary, it tends to have an oppo- 
site effect, since the smaller States through their weakness are 
relatively more disposed to enter into forms of collective co- 
operation (as typically demonstrated in their r61e in the 
League of Nations), while the world imperialist blocs, each 
striving for world domination, are the principal enemies of 
world unity. 


In consequence the problem of unity has appeared to the 
ideologists of imperialism as the problem of "ultra-imperi- 
alism" the realisation of a single world imperialism, whether 
peacefully or otherwise. Typical as an expression of this out- 
look, in abstractly political and juridical form, is the state- 
ment of the contemporary historian and liberal theorist of 
imperialism, Professor Arnold Toynbee, who sees a future 
world State as inevitable and presents the alternatives as 
either voluntary federation of the existing imperialist and 
capitalist States, or the ending of the international anarchy by 
the "universal empire" of one over the rest: 

"When we study history we perceive that the political 
problem with which we are grappling, in our generation 
of society, is by no means unprecedented. The curse of pol- 
itical anarchy which comes from the distribution of sover- 
eignty among a plurality of local States has afflicted other 
societies before ours; but, in all those other cases in which 
the same situation has arisen, it has always been transitory. 
For anarchy by its very nature cures itself sooner or later, 
by one means or another. The cure may come through a 
voluntary, pacific, rational constructive effort, such as we 
are making in our day an effort to deprive the local States 
of their sovereignty for the benefit of society as a whole, 
without at the same time depriving them of their existence. 
Alternatively, the cure may come through a blind, violent, 
irrational and destructive clash of material forces. Refusing 
to surrender their sovereignty, the local States may continue 
to collide with one another in war after war, until this pol- 
itical struggle for existence is terminated at length by a 
'knock-out blow.' On this alternative, all the local sovereign 
States except one are doomed eventually to forfeit not only 
their sovereignty but their very existence; for, on this alter- 
native, the anarchy will be ended, not by agreement, but by 
force; not by the organisation of a pacific League of Na- 
tions, but by the imposition of a universal empire through 
the victory of one militant nation over all the rest." 

344 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

The choice is thus presented as either voluntary federation 
of the existing imperialist States by the surrender of their 
sovereignty to one world centre, or else world unification 
through the victory and domination of one imperialism over 
the remainder. (The third alternative, that the transforma- 
tion may come from within, that the existing State forms are 
no solid crystal, and that the masses may advance to their 
overthrow and on the basis of their overthrow proceed to 
build up the world Socialist order, does not enter into the per- 
spective of this philosopher.) 

But in fact the whole survey that we have made of the real 
forces of world development in the present period has gone 
to show that imperialism knows no way of expansion save by 
conquest and domination. The conception of a peaceful uni- 
fication of imperialisms is a liberal illusion which fails to take 
into account the economic basis and structure of imperialism, 
the antagonistic interests of the rival monopolist groups, the 
impossibility of any peaceful partition of interests and areas 
of exploitation save on a basis of relative strengths, and the 
consequent impossibility of any stable agreement in view of 
the law of the uneven development of capitalism. Capitalism 
is in essence anti-collective, capable of combining only against 
a common enemy, and therefore incapable of a collective out- 
come on a world scale. 1 World federation is ultimately incom- 
patible with private property in the means of production. 
This question has been already fully discussed in Chapter V. 
In consequence, while it remains correct that the existing 
stage of technique and economic development, no less than 
the dilemmas of the political situation, drive forward to world 
unification, the path along which imperialism in reality en- 

*So deeply engrained is this basic competitive, anti-collective assump- 
tion in the bourgeois outlook as the natural, eternal law of life, that cer- 
tain imaginative writers of the bourgeoisie, such as Andr6 Maurois in a 
recent work, have elaborated phantasies to show that world federation 
could only be achieved by inventing a common enemy in the case of 
this particular work of fiction, a supposed expedition for war against the 
moon. The logic is correct on bourgeois standards. The possibility of 
human co-operation for positive, constructive ends, which is easily con- 
ceivable to scientists, engineers and workers, is beyond the power of im- 
agination of these "imaginative" writers of the bourgeoisie. 


deavours to realise this drive is the only path open to imperi- 
alism in accordance with its laws o development, the path of 
struggle and conquest through successively enlarging wars to 
the ultimate extermination of rival claims and the final vic- 
tory of one imperialist grouping to achieve world domination. 
This is the only path, even theoretically conceivable, to world 
unity within the conditions of imperialism. 

For this final struggle the world imperialist blocs are arm- 
ing and preparing with all their power. Consciously or uncon- 
sciously, this ultimate aim of world domination sounds through 
the utterance of all imperialism. Indeed, it finds conscious ex- 
pression in Hitler's Mein Kampf: 

"Whoever would really wish from his heart for the vic- 
tory of the pacifist conception in this world must devote 
himself by every means to the conquest of the world by the 
Germans. , . . It is necessary, then, for better or for worse, 
to determine to resort to wars in order to achieve paci- 
fism. ... In reality the pacifist humanitarian idea will per- 
haps be excellent on that day when the man superior to all 
others will have conquered and subjugated the world first 
of all in such a measure that he becomes the sole master of 
the earth." 

(HITLER, Mein Kampf, p. 315) 

In accordance with the laws of its being, every imperialism 
advances to the battle for world domination. The words of the 
song of the Nazi Storm Troops 

uns heute 


Denn Deutschland gehort u? 
Und morgen die ganze Welt 

("For Germany is ours to-day, and to-morrow the whole 
world") are in reality, though seldom so openly proclaimed, 
the leitmotiv of every imperialism. No less specific was the 
proclamation of Hitler in 1936: 

"I do not believe there can be peace among the nations 
until they all have the same law and system of law. That 

346 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

is why I hope that National Socialism will one day extend 
over the world. This is no fantastic dream, but an achiev- 
able object." 

(HITLER, speech at Munich, March i4th, 1936) 

Answering it sounds the call of the British Conservative 
leader, the former Colonial Minister, L. S. Amery, proclaim- 
ing the dreams of British imperialism for the British Empire 
to expand to include the whole world, in his recent book, 
The Forward View (in which he incidentally proposes as a 
modest first step the addition of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, 
Iceland and Greenland to the British Empire): 

"Our task is to work for the unity and strength of the 
British Empire, to maintain its vitality, the comprehensive 
elasticity of its organisation, and the breadth and boldness 
of its outlook, so that it may be equally fitted, as the world 
shapes itself, to give the lead in promoting the eventual 
scheme of world union, or to provide the nucleus which may 
gradually expand to include all mankind." 

(L. s. AMERY, The Forward View, 1935, P- 269) 

Echoing this may be noted the letter from an Oxford Uni- 
versity don given pride of place in The Times of February 
3rd, 1936: 

"Some day the British Empire may be able to extend its 
limits so as to include all States which are genuinely in- 
spired by ideals of peace and international co-operation." 

This is not the view of Mussolini, who finds the British Em- 
pire in decay and in speech after speech proclaims the Caesar- 
ian destiny of Rome to the empire of the world. Running 
counter to all these dreams of the European imperialist Pow- 
ers for world hegemony, American imperialism proudly pro- 
claims its manifest destiny to world hegemony through the 
initial paths of economic penetration: 


"The 'feeling' of victory is on America's side. It is Amer- 
ica's 'day/ The devastating 'will to win* so characteristic of 
youth, and the energy and daring which flow from it, drive 
America forward. The sense of 'manifest destiny* is contag- 
ious. . . . This conviction penetrates even Britain. The aged 
Empire is fighting not only the real challenger, but also the 
living ghost of world supremacy, which advanced with the 
Roman legions of old, which has led the British for genera- 
tions, and which now seems to fight for America. . . . 

"The 'Americanisation* of Europe and the far places of 
the earth advances. . . . We were Britain's colony once. She 
will be our colony before she is done, not in name, but in 
fact. Machines gave Britain power over the world. Now bet- 
ter machines are giving America power over the world. . . . 

"What chance has Britain against America? Or what 
chance has the world?" 

(LUDWELL DENNY, America Conquers Britain, 1930, 

pp. 404-7) 

Across the waters of the Pacific answers the voice of Japanese 

"Our imperial spirit (Kodo) which is the embodiment of 
the union between the true soul of the Japanese State and 
the great ideal of the Japanese people, is by its nature a 
thing which must be propagated over the seven seas and ex- 
tended over the five continents. All obstacles interfering with 
this must be destroyed with strong determination, not stop- 
ping at the application of real force." 

(GENERAL ARAKI, "Problems Facing Japan," in Kaikosha, 
July 193^, quoted Japan Chronicle, March sand, 1933) 

"In order to conquer the world we must first conquer 
China. . . . With all the resources of China at our disposal 
we shall pass forward to the conquest of India, the Archi- 
pelago, Asia Minor, Central Asia and even Europe." 
(Memorandum of BARON TANAKA, Japanese Prime 
Minister, to the Japanese Emperor on July 25th, 

348 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

These conceptions are manifestly fantastic, absurd, the 
voices of chauvinist fire-eaters. Coolly considered, that is cor- 
rect. Yet they are the voices of the most active driving-forces 
of every modern imperialism, the ideological reflection of the 
limitless drive to expansion of finance-capital. They are the 
correct expression of the only path forward along which im- 
perialism must strive to urge its ever-accelerating course. 

The same dream runs through them all. Yet they cannot all 
be fulfilled. At the most, only one can be fulfilled at the ex- 
pense of all the remainder. Only one imperialism can achieve 
world hegemony at the expense of every other. And the path 
to this fulfillment of one world imperialist domination must 
lie through oceans of blood. 

In practice, however, what is the prospect of such a single 
world imperialist domination being realised? While such an 
ultimate victory of one imperialist grouping achieving world 
domination is theoretically conceivable, it is manifest that in 
the real historical process, with the present close balance in 
strength between the rival imperialist groupings, and with the 
already extreme sharpening of social and political antagonisms 
even before the outbreak of war, the actual outcome of such a 
struggle or series of struggles could only be so wholesale a de- 
struction of forces and weakening of the existing social struc- 
ture, as to lead, long before the final world victory of one or 
another imperialist grouping, to the shattering of the founda- 
tions of imperialism and the victory of the world socialist rev- 
olution over a decisive area of the earth. The first world war 
led to the victory of the world revolution over one-sixth of the 
earth. To what would a second world war lead? 

The victory of the world socialist revolution does not de- 
pend on the development of new world war. On the contrary, 
such a development, while accelerating the growth of mass un- 
rest and eventual revolutionisation, would constitute in cer- 
tain respects the most unfavourable and difficult conditions 
for the building of a stable power and for the tasks of con- 
struction, owing to the wholesale destruction, anarchy and 
barbarism thus let loose by the bourgeoisie in its death-throes. 


If the working-class forces should prove strong enough to con- 
quer power before the outbreak of new world war, this would 
constitute a far higher plane of development. 

But in the event of the bourgeoisie succeeding to unlaunch 
renewed world war before the working-class conquest of pow- 
er, there can be no question of the final outcome. The dialec- 
tics of war and revolution in the present epoch have been 
already demonstrated in the first imperialist war; and the con- 
ditions in all these respects are far stronger and more develop- 
ed to-day. Modern war depends in every respect on the masses, 
not only in the fighting lines, but equally behind the lines on 
the maintenance of the industrial machine, and finally on the 
reaction of the civil population to the newest strategic methods 
of mass destruction directed against them, not only for direct 
slaughter, but for shattering internal social organisation. 1 Na- 
poleon, according to the memoirs of Chaptal, f eared the slight- 
est unrest among the workers more than a lost battle. But 

1 Compare in this connection Churchill's speech in the House of Com- 
mons on November 28th, 1934, discussing the problems arising from the 
prospect of aerial bombardment: 

"Not less formidable than these material effects are the reactions 
which will be produced on the mind of the civil population. We must 
expect that under the pressure of continuous air attack on London at 
least three million or four million people would be driven out into the 
open country around the Metropolis. This vast mass of human beings, 
numerically far larger than any armies which have been fed and moved 
in war, without shelter or food, without sanitation, and without special 
provision for maintaining order, would confront the Government of the 
day with an administrative problem of the first magnitude, and would 
certainly absorb the energies of our small Army and of our Territorial 
Force, Problems of this kind have never been faced before." 
It will be observed that the main problem is here regarded as an "ad- 
ministrative" problem of organising and "maintaining order" in the civil 
population, and that this task of maintaining the existing class-regime 
under conditions of unparalleled social disorganisation is even regarded 
as the main task which will "absorb the energies" of the land military 
forces in a future war. Should, however, "the Government of the day 1 ' 
not be able to count with confidence on the military forces for the fulfil- 
ment of this task in the midst of a discontented civil population, under 
conditions of extreme privation and suffering, and goaded by the contrast 
of the relatively sheltered conditions of the ruling class, the consequent 
problem is not further discussed. The imperialists have reason to dread 
the final hazard of a new war. Nevertheless, necessity drives them on. 

350 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

Napoleon had neither to deal with the modern conditions of 
mechanised production, nor with the modern working-class 

In the first decade after the war the theory was evolved that 
the revolutionary outcome of the first imperialist war could 
not be repeated, since the future of military strategy lay with 
the small mechanised army of picked units, excluding the r61e 
of the mass, henceforward regarded by imperialism as "danger- 
ous." The theory was in any case baseless, since the very ad- 
vance of mechanisation increases the decisive r61e of the 
industrial worker. But its initial assumption was also false, as 
was demonstrated on the day that the German General Staff, 
the most highly skilled leaders of the art of war in the capital- 
ist world, rejected the limitation to a small professional army, 
so soon as the international political situation made this defi- 
ance of Versailles possible, and adopted mass conscription. 
Thereby imperialism recognised that it was compelled to place 
the final military decision in the hands of the masses of the 

Out of the conditions of the inevitable struggle of the im- 
perialist Powers for world hegemony, which is itself the expres- 
sion of the drive to an attempted "solution" of the problem of 
world organisation within the conditions of imperialism, no 
less inevitably develop, whether that struggle reaches to the 
point of world war or not, the forces which transform these 
conditions to their bpposite and thus eventually reach to the 
only final solution of the problem of world organisation by 
the working-class conquest of power and the unitary socialist 
organisation of world economy. This is the third alternative 
which remains outside the scope of the imagination of the 
bourgeois theorists on the problem of world organisation, be- 
cause it appears to them only as a remote and hypothetical 
vision of the future, and is not seen by them in its real char- 
acter as a living, concrete force the "world power," as Marx 
expressed it nearly a century ago, of communismgrowing 
daily out of the soil of existing conditions and contradictions. 

The necessity of world organisation is to-day increasingly 
recognised by all schools of thought. But the proposed solu- 


tions within the conditions of imperialism, whether by the 
voluntary federation or unification of the rival imperialist 
Powers, or by the world domination of one imperialist Power 
through the conquest of the remainder, are in fact Utopian 
fantasies, which are not only incapable o solving the problem, 
but are also incapable of practical realisation, by reason of the 
contradictions of imperialism. On the other hand, the ulti- 
mateand even not far offdevelopment, through struggle, 
from the existing contradictions to their eventual outcome in 
the victory of the world socialist revolution and the final 
World Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, is not only the sole 
final solution of the existing contradictions and antagonisms, 
uniting purposive centralised organisation wth human free- 
dom, but is also the only practical goal to which the path is 
already marked out, step by step, from the existing conditions, 
and which is already in fact in process of realisation. The 
understanding of this, which was already clear in principle 
nearly a century ago, when Marx and Engels wrote the Mani- 
festo of the Communist Party, is to-day becoming increasingly 
clear to wider and wider sections in the living experience and 
facts of present world politics. 

Why this should be so follows necessarily from the condi- 
tions of the problem. The fatal obstacle to every attempt at 
world organisation within the conditions of imperialism lies 
in the antagonistic tendencies of the rival groups of monopoly- 
capital, i.e. in the impossibility of basic unity of the world 
bourgeoisie. The American Professor of Political Science, Fred- 
erick L. Schuman, at the conclusion of his exhaustive study of 
over 900 large-size pages on International Politics, endeavours 
to assess the future perspective from the bourgeois standpoint. 
He regards with unconcealed horror and anxiety the prospect 
of the ultimate victory of the world communist revolution. 
Nevertheless he is compelled to admit that the bourgeoisie as 
a class is incapable of world unity: 

"If there were a world ruling dass in the world society, 
the problem of political unification would be considerably 
simplified. But there is no such flite with a consciousness of 

352 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

its solidarity on a world scale. The dominant bourgeoisie is 
sharply divided into competing and conflicting national 
groups. There can, moreover, be no world-wide concert of 
power among these ruling classes, for 'power' itself is rela- 
tive and postulates not a community of interests but a di- 
vergency of interests. . . . States and Governments, as em- 
bodiments of power, can function only vis-a-vis other and 
potentially hostile embodiments of power. They cannot 
function in the abstract on a world-wide scale." 

(F. L. SCHUMAN, International Politics, 1933, P* 831) 

As against this, he is compelled to recognise that the world 
proletariat is capable of realising world unity: 

"If the sequence of events unfolds as the communists anti- 
cipate, and if their plans are eventually carried into success- 
ful execution, the world, or most of the world, will indeed 
attain political unity before the close of the present cen- 

(Ibid., p. 841) 

He recoils with alarm from this solution and the struggle it 
involves. But the merciless logic of facts leaves this professor 
of bourgeois political theory no alternative to offer. In order 
to escape from the inevitable communist conclusion of his own 
analysis, he has to conclude with the pious hope, in lieu of an 
alternative, that imperialism may somehow abandon "the 
competitive quest for private profits through tariff protection- 
ism, autarchy, dollar diplomacy and financial imperialism" 
and turn instead to "co-operative efforts designed to promote 
the general welfare of all nations in a world society" i.e. that 
imperialism may cease to be imperialism. The bankruptcy of 
bourgeois theory before the problem of world organisation 
here receives typical expression. 

The world economic contradictions which characterise cap- 
italism, and receive their highest expression in imperialism, 
are not inevitable from the inherent natural-physical condi- 


tions of world economy or of the organisation of productive 
relations between peoples. They arise solely from the social re- 
lations of production in class-society, the battles of the an- 
archic world market and the conflict of interests of rival groups 
of capitalist property-owners. These contradictions can only be 
eliminated in the collective world organisation of economy. 
But such collective world organisation of economy requires 
the removal of the obstacles of capitalist ownership in the 
means of production, in order that the whole of world eco- 
nomy can be organised on a single plan to meet the needs of 
the world's population. Not only political sovereignty, as ex- 
pressed in the existing State system, must go, but also economic 
sovereignty, as expressed in the existing system of property 
relations. The former is only the reflection of the latter; and 
the bourgeois internationalist reformers' attempts to battle 
with the evils of the system of divided State sovereignties only 
beat the air, because they fail to realise that this system is 
rooted in existing class-relations and in the division of the 
ownership of the means of production between rival monop- 
olist groups. 

This prospect of the necessary future path of world social 
organisation is no dream of a Utopian millennium remote 
from the issues of present struggles. The Soviet Union has al- 
ready shown that such international collective organisation 
can be realised over one-sixth of the earth, with complete 
equality and national freedom, covering a range of peoples at 
every stage of development and with over one hundred and 
fifty different languages, and with the peoples at a more ad- 
vanced stage of development actively assisting those at a more 
backward stage rapidly to attain an equal technical and cul- 
tural level. There is technically nothing whatever to prevent 
the extension of this process to a world scale in the immediate 
future. Technically and economically, all the conditions are 
already present for world organisation. Only one issue remains 
to be solved in order to realise thisthe issue of power. The 
power of capitalism, of imperialism, must be broken. Power 
must be transferred to the working class leading all the work- 

354 WORLD POLITICS: 1918-1936 

ing masses. So will be realised the eventual World Union of 
Socialist Soviet Republics, or unified international rule of the 
working class, to carry out the tasks of world socialist organisa- 
tion and prepare the way for the future world communist so- 

The path forward to this next stage arises out of the exist- 
ing conditions and contradictions. The working-class forces 
and their allies advance in strength throughout the present 
historical period, despite and through incidental defeats; the 
colonial peoples advance towards liberation. Imperialism 
cracks up, despite and even through the ever more violent ef- 
forts to maintain it. 

This outcome is historically inevitable, because every other 
attempted solution necessarily breaks on its own contradic- 
tions, and because out of these very contradictions the forces 
of the future grow in strength, while the forces of the declin- 
ing world weaken. But how soon it will be realised depends 
on the human factor, on the speed of the awakening and de- 
velopment of the mass struggle in response to the issues of the 
present period. Herein lies the critical question with regard to 
the menace of a second world war. 

If there is delay in mobilising the mass peace front against 
the immediate menace of new world war, and in going for- 
ward with the consequent developing struggles against Fascism 
and the capitalist offensive to the final revolutionary issues 
and the decisive struggle for the working-class conquest of 
power, then world war is inevitable; and the path to the ulti- 
mate world socialist organisation will have to lie through an 
epoch of immense destruction and human suffering. 

But there is still the possibility to realise the other road. If 
we can succeed in organising the mass front to-day, before it is 
too late, both for the struggle against the immediate menace 
of new world war, and in order to advance towards the decisive 
battle against capitalism and for the conquest of power by the 
working class, so that the victory of the revolution in a series 
of countries may yet precede the threatened plunge of im- 
perialism into new world war, and thus prevent it, shattering 


Fascism from within, then we will have achieved the most 
favourable conditions for the most rapid advance to the future 
world society with the minimum of suffering and destruction. 
This is the possibility for which we need to exert every effort 
to-day, at the same time as preparing with open eyes for either 



ABYSSINIA, and Italian population 

problem, 192 
Italian war on. See I talo- Abyssin- 

ian War 
Addis Ababa, establishment of Ital- 

ian power, 1936, 248 
Aeroplanes, range and qualities of 

latest, 15-16 
Aeroplane, The, and German-Soviet 

antagonisms, 301 
Afghanistan, non-aggression pact, 

Soviet Treaty with, 1921, 311 
Africa, and European population 

problems, 192 

and Fascist revisionism, 206 
European scramble for territory, 

1876-1900, 32 

revolutionary advances in, 14 
rising consciousness and revolt in, 

55 332 
Africa, North, British interests in 

and Italo-Abyssinian War, 148 
Italy and British Empire in, 230-1 
Africa, Portuguese, Anglo-German 
proposals for cession of, 1913, 
Africa, South, British and American 

exports to, 1930, 195 
manufactures, 1912-31, 235 
pressure for independence, 235 
war in, 32 
Aggression, renounced under Kel- 

logg Pact, 152-3 
Agriculture, collectivisation in U.S.- 

S.R., 278 

Air Force, General Purposes Mach- 
ine, 15 

German, 75, 251 

Alexander, King of Yugoslavia, mur- 
der of, 257 

Alexandria, bombardment of, 122 
Allied Maritime Transport Coun- 
cil, 133 

Alsace-Lorraine, 58, 322 
America. See United States. 
America, Central. See Central Amer- 
America Conquers Britain, by Lud- 

well Denny, 240, 347 
America's Capacity to Produce, by 

Edwin G. Nourse, 95 
America's Naval Challenge, by F. 

Moore, 62 

America, South. See South America. 

Amery, Rt, Hon. L. S., and Union 

of Scandinavian countries with 

Britain, 196 

on British Empire and World 

Union, 346 
on Japanese-Soviet antagonism, 


on Pan-Europe project, 156-7 
An Ambassador of Peace, by Lord 

d'Abernon, 276, 288 
Angell, Norman, on capitalism and 

war, 91-2 

on world organisation, i25n 
Anglo-American antagonism, 57 
and British Dominions, 229 et seq. 
cotton, 199 
currency, 100-7 
debts, 64, 68, 83n 
exports, 195-7 
Far East, 153-4, 211-228 
gold, 68 


360 INDEX 

League of Nations, 143 

naval, 61-63, 214-215 

oil, 199 

rubber, 199 

South America, 205, 229 

world hegemony, 57, 346-7 
Anglo-French Agreement, 1935, 265 
Anglo-German Naval Agreement, 

1 935 75 l62 > 265 
Anglo- Japanese Agreement, 1894, 

Anglo-Japanese Treaties, 1902, 1905, 

Anglo-Soviet Pact, desirability of, 


Angola, 184 
Angora, 297 

Araki, General, and Japanese dom- 
ination, 347 

and "re-distribution," 171 
Archangel, attack on, 140 
Archipelago, The, in Japanese Pan- 
Asian Plan, 1927, 221, 347 
Arcos raid, 1927, 286 
Argentina, and Anglo-American an- 
tagonism, 229 
British and American exports to, 

Armaments, importance of, 1936, 36 
in Bolivian-Paraguayan War, 20 
increases in national expenditure 

on, 18 et seq. 
race and proposed "holidays," 

pre-1914, 32, 34 
reduction of, 12 
world expenditure on and world 

production, 18 
A. Searchlight on the Navy, by H. C. 

Bywater, 214 
Ashby, Mrs. Corbett, and British 

disarmament, iSan 
Asia, rising consciousness and re- 
volt in, 55 
Asia Minor, in Japanese Pan-Asian 

Plan, 1927, 221, 347 
Asquith, Rt.-Hon. H., and public 
law of Europe, 122 

readiness to negotiate for peace, 
1916, 41 

Assouan Dam, 199 

Asturias, armed fighting, 1934, 53 

Athens, and British bombing aero- 
planes, 15 

Australia, American loan, 1925, 232 
and Japanese aggression, 222, 223 
area and population density, 209 
British and American exports to, 

manufactures, 1912-31, 235 
presure for independence, 231-3, 

relations to United States, 223, 

231, 232, 233, 235 
Austria, 13 
and revisionism, 179 
armed fighting, 1934, 53 
attempted seizure by Germany, 

battleground between Germany 

and Italy, 328 
German war plan, 266 
opposition to Peace Treaties, 241 
peace negotiations, 1917, 41 
revolution and counter-revolu- 

tion, 49-50 
Smuts' mandate proposals, 1918, 


struggles against Facism, 1934, 74 
Vienna rising, 1927, 53 
Austria-Hungary, and Italy, 34 
excluded from original League, 


independence of, 139 
Autarchy, 21 
Autobiography, by H. G. Wells, 123 

Bacon, Empire supply, 238 
Baghdad railway, Anglo-German 

Convention, 1914, 184 
Baikal, Lake, 287 
Baker, R. Stannard, Secretary to 

President Wilson, 47 
Balance of Payments, 1931-2 

(League of Nations), 103 

Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley, 231 
on Collective Peace System, 1934, 

on consequences of war (1926), 


on dangers of revolution, 1923, 52 
on exploitation of Soviet, 1924, 276 
on German Air Force, 251 
on international politics, 1935, 


on loans to Dominions, 232 
on significance of Ottawa, 239 
on Soviet industrial competition, 


Balfour, Lord, 231 
Balfour Committee on Industry and 

Trade, 1924, 81, 237 
Balfour Declaration, 1925, 246 
"Balkanisation" of Europe, 54 
Balkan Pact of Mutual Guarantee, 

Balkan States, rivalry of Germany 

and Italy, 328 
r61e of within League, 146 

Balkan Wars, 32 

Baltic, German dominance in, 266 
in Goering war plan, 267 

Baltic Pact, of 1934, 157, 268 

Baltic States, and counter-revolu- 

tion, 1918, 49 
and Eastern Locarno, 158 
fear of Germany, 328 
Non- Aggression Pact, 1933, 311 
r61e of within League, 146 
Treaty of Non-Aggression, 1929, 

Bank of England and German re- 

armament, 262 
Bank of International Settlements. 

See International Bank. 
Banse, Prof., on downfall of Great 

Britain, 203*2 
Barnby, Lord, Mission (F.B.I.) to 

Far East, 1934, 219 
Barnes, H. E., World Politics in 

Modern Civilisation, 4471 
Barnes, Leonard, imports and ex- 

INDEX 361 

ports under Open Door princi- 
ple (Africa), 196-7 
on "psychological" need for Col- 

onies, 193 
Barthou, assassination of, 1934, 74, 


Basel Experts' Committee, 1931, 8371 
Bauer, Otto, 51 
Beaverbrook, Lord, Empire Free 

Trade Campaign, 238 
Isolationism and German- Japan- 

ese offensive, 300 
Beef, Empire supply, 238 
Belgium and German rearmament 
(Rjbbentrop to Van Zeeland), 
1935 296-7 

and Locarno Pact, 65, 154 
and Nazi revisionism, 179, 268 
and re-militarisation of Rhine- 

land, 266 
British and American exports to, 

devaluation, 1935, 1Q 6 

fear of Germany, 328 

imports and exports to Congo, 

i932 197 

in German war plan, 267 
independence of, 139 
industrial production, 1925-9, 27 
military alliance with France, 

1920, 59 

tariff increases, 1925-9, 97 
Berlin Pan-Europe Conference, 

i930> 153 

Bertie, Sir Francis, 40 
Bethlehem Steel Corporation, 66 
Bethmann-Hollweg, on probable 

duration of war, 1914, 39-40 
Beveridge, Sir William, on economic 

crisis, 8371 
Birkenhead, Lord, mission to Ber- 

lin, 1928, 286, 290 
on ownership of world, 1923, 170 
Bismarck, Otto von, co-operation 

with Thiers, 136 
on satiated and unsatiated states, 


362 INDEX 

"Black Friday/' 1921, 52 
Bobriki-Beresniki, chemical works 

of, 278 
Bodin, 120 
Bolivia and League of Nations, 20, 

16 7 

Bolshevism. See Communism. 

Bonar Law, Rt. Hon. Andrew, and 

"tranquillity," 80 
Government of, 64 

Borah, Senator, and British neutral- 
ity in American-Japanese con- 
flict, 224 

Bosanquet, on State sovereignty, 

Boxer Rising, 1900, 136 

Brazil, and Anglo-American antag- 
onism, 229 

Brazil, British and American ex- 
ports to, 1930, 195 

Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of, 288 

Briand, Aristide, conversations with 

Stresemann, Thoiry, 1926, 155 
"European," 65 
Pan-European policy, 155 
replaced by Poincare, 64 

Briand-Kellogg Pact. See Kellogg 

British Bankers' Manifesto, 1930, 

British Documents on the Origin of 

the War, 40 

British Dominions. See Dominions 
British Empire, pre-1914, 33-4 
and World Union, 346 
colonial monopolies question, 176, 


disintegration tendencies, 229-37 
efforts to stem disintegration, 

exports and imports since Ottawa, 


extent and statistics, 229-30 
future of, and U.S.A., 229 et seq. 
"satiation" theories, 176, 182 
territorial gains at Versailles, 58 
British Mission to Tokio, 1935, 225 

British Note of September 1935 (on 

Collective Action), 247 
Brown, John, value of shares, 113-14 
Bruce, S. M., on Australian sym- 
pathy with America, 233 
on British lending capacity, 232 
on Dominions and British Navy, 

1925, 231-2 
Briming, 292 
Brussels Financial Conference, 1920, 


Bucharin, i28n 

Bulgaria, and revisionism, 179 
conflict with Greece, 1925, 161 
Fascist, and revisionism, 268 
opposition to Peace treaties, 241 
Butter, Empire supply, 238 
Bywater, H. C., on Britain in Pacif- 
ic, 210-11 
on Washington Treaties, 214 

CAILLAUX on economic crisis, 8471 
Canada, and Japanese aggression, 

area and population density, 209 

as extension of U.S., 231 

British and American exports to, 

1930* 195 

industrial production, 1925-9, 27 
manufactures, 1911-32, 235 
unused productive capacity, 1935, 


Can Europe Keep the Peace? by 

Frank H. Simonds, 38 
Capitalism, accumulations seeking 

outlet, 95-7 
and collective world economy, 


and adaptation for war, 108-9 

and economic and militarist rival- 
ries, 11971 

and foreign policy, 179-81 

and Fascism, 326 

and free trade, 31, 86 

and League of Nations, 131 et seq. 

and New Economic Policy of Sov- 
iet Union, 275-6 

and possession of Colonies, 200 et 

and Socialism, division of world, 

271 et seq. 

and Soviet efficiency, 281 
and World State, 125-7 
and world unification, 24 et seq., 

116 et seq. 
changing character of, 1914-36, 13, 

78-9, 321-2 
conflict for re-division of world, 

consequences of uneven develop- 

ment of, 32, 38-9, 53 et seq. 
decay, 78 et seq. 

divergences of views within, 83 -47* 
Encyclopedia Britannica on, 1929, 

expanding forces of pre-1914, 33 

et seq. 
industrial, and imperialism, 32, 


inequality of development and 
post-war settlements, 39, 54 et 

international, myth of, 86 et seq. 
limitation policies, 95-6 
organisation of and League of Na- 

tions, 133-5 
pre-war, characteristics of, 21, 79 

See also Imperialism 
Cartels and Trusts, system of, 126-7 
Carver, Professor N., on world pros- 

perity, 1928, 66 

Cecil, Lord, and proposals to guar- 
antee no distinction of race un- 
der League, 137 
Central America, revolutionary ad- 

vances in, 14 
Central Asia, in Japanese Pan-Asian 

Plan, 1927, 221, 347 
Chaco War, 229 
Chahar, Japanese control, 287 
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir Austen, 
on Anglo-Japanese friendship, 

on League of Nations, 1935, 115 

INDEX 363 

on world situation, 1932, 72-3 
Chamberlain, Joseph, 87 
and Inter-Imperial Customs Un- 
ion, 1896, 237 

Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Neville, on 
dangers of unchecked produc- 
tion, 94 
on payment of war debts, 1933, 


on "redistribution/* 1936, 201-2 
Chanak Crisis, 1922, 63, 235 
Chapei, bombardment of, 1932, 73 
Chaptal, memoirs of, 349 
Chiang Kai Shek, and Chinese revo- 
lution, 214 

Chicherin, note to Colby, U.S. Sec- 
retary of State, 1920, 307 
Note to Wilson on League of Na- 
tions, October 1918, 139-40 
Chile, British and American ex- 
ports to, 1930, 195 
China, 13 

and Japanese Three-Point Pro- 
gramme, 217-18 
and League of Nations, 167 
and Nine-Power Treaty, 154, 213 
and Washington Treaties, 20, 76 
appeal to League, 1931, 145, 165 
British and American exports to, 

i93> 195 

British imperialism in, 182 
currency and U.S.A., 224 
currency reform, 1935, 225 
China, exports and imports, 1913- 

25, 213 
Japanese aims of domination, 206, 

213, 216, 221 

Japanese first war on, 1894-5, 212 
Japanese offensive, 1915, 213 
Japanese offensive since 1931, 206- 

7, 216-219 
Open Door, 211-12 
Opium Wars, 180 
partition of, 33, 211-12 
population density, 209-10 
Revolution, 53, 208, 213* 228 
Soviet Treaty with, 1924* 3 11 

364 INDEX 

struggle for national unity, 37, 


trade to, 1913, an 
Twenty-one Demands of Japan, 

19^ 213 

China, North, and Japanese popula- 
tion problem, 191 
Japanese control of, 206 
Japanese invasion, 1931, 73, 129, 

174-5, 216 
Japanese invasion and Kellogg 

Pact, 153 
Japanese invasion and League of 

Nations, 12 
China, Soviet, growth of, 14, 214, 

228, 329, 331 
leader of Colonial liberation, 


Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston, break- 
down of plans for invasion of 
Soviet, 1919, 48-9 
estimate of German rearmament, 

113, 260 

on problems of modern war, 3497* 
on restoration of Gold Standard, 


Clemenceau, on war, 2 
supremacy of, 41 
traditions of, 262 
Cobden, Richard, 87, 117 
Commercial Anglo-French Treaty, 

1860, 86 

Colby, U.S. Secretary of State, cor- 
respondence with Lord Curzon, 
1920, 61 

note from Chicherin, 1920, 307 
Collective Peace Front, 335-6 
Collective Security, 12, 143, 149, 


and Covenant of League, 165-6 
and Fascism, 167 
and German-Japanese offensive, 


and smaller states, 268 
British Note, 1935, 247 
British views, 269 

German denunciation 257 

in international relations, 20 

not a permanent solution of war 
problem, 167-8 

principle of, 160 

Collective world economy, organisa- 
tion of, 352-3 

Colonial acquisitions, European, 
1870-1900, 32, 32n 

and markets, 194 et seq. 

and world re-division, 36, 170 et 

demands of Great Powers, 33 et 

Imperialist theories, 190 et seq. 

Nations, rising consciousness and 
revolt, 37, 56, 331-2 

question and foreign policy, 180-1 

reformist theories, 175, 193-4 

Soviet Union declaration, 189-90 
Colonies, agrarian crisis, 1929, 71 

and Imperialism, nature of rela- 
tionship, 13-14, 198 

and "re-distribution" (Sir S. 
Hoare), 184-7 

battle for liberation in Far East, 

Continental, in Africa and Pan- 
Europe, 155 

British, 322 

exploitation of, and "re-distribu- 
tion," 172 

German, question of, 57, 76, 8471, 

Portuguese, to be transferred, 34 

redistribution question, 12, 171, 
183 et seq. 

representation at League of Na- 
tions, 136 

restoration of, 58, 267 

wars for possession of, and Kel- 
logg Pact, 153 

Comite" des Forges, and Hitler, 262 
Committee of Imperial Relations, 

Report of, 1926, 235-6 
Communism (Bolshevism), 44 

in China, 213-14 

in Europe, British memorandum 
on, 1918, 137 

Lloyd George on dangers of, 45-7, 

Lloyd George on League as altern- 
ative to, 1919, 138 

President Hoover on, 47 

President Wilson on, 47 

Sino-Japanese Co-operation 
against, 217 

world power of, 351-2 
Communist International, 83, 309, 

330 334 

Communist Party, victory in Rus- 
sia, 1917, 272-3 

Concert of Europe, 20, 143 

Congo Basin Treaty, 196 

Conservatism, concept of history, 22 

Constantinople, 322 

Corfu, bombardment of, 249 

Cornejo, M. H., original member 
of Council of League, 129 

Cotton, Anglo-American antagon- 
ism, 199 

Coudenhove-Kalergi, Count, on Pan- 
Europe, 8471, 155 

Council of Action, Great Britain, 
1920, 52 

Council of League, composition of, 

Counter-revolution, 48-53, 273, 285- 

Counter-revolutionary movements 

in Germany, 1919, 59 
Covenant of League and Japan, 

i93i 73 

Sanctions Clauses, 144 
Cowdray, Lord, 84^ 
Cruc6, first conception of world 

State, 1623, 1X 7 
Cunliffe Committee on Currency, 

etc., 1919, 100 
Currency War, The, 36, 68, 100 et 

Current History, by General W. S. 

Graves, 228-9 

INDEX 365 

Curzon, Lord, and Franco-Turkish 

Treaty, 1921, 63 
correspondence with Colby (U. 

S.A.), 1920, 61 
Ultimatum, 1923, 286 
Czecho-Slovakia, alliance with 

France, 1924, 60 

alliance with Yugoslavia and Ru- 
mania, 1921, 60 
and Eastern Locarno, 158 
and post-war Balance, 242 
in German war plan, 266-7 
Mutual Assistance Pact with Sov- 
iet, 1935, 314 

national majorities and minori- 
ties, 60 

Non- Aggression pact, 1933, 312 
Czernin, Count, memorandum for 
peace, 1917, 41 

D'AszRNON, LORD, British Ambas- 
sador in Berlin, on Brest-Li- 
tovsk, 288 
on Locarno, 289 
on ruin of Russia, 1922, 276 
Daily Herald on Bankers' Manifesto, 

1926, 9871 
on "psychological" problem of 

colonies, 194 
Daily Mail, on anti-Soviet aims, 

293 3> 

Daily Telegraph on "re-distribu- 
tion," 1936, 201 
Daniels, J., U.S. Secretary of the 

Navy, on British Navy, 1919, 62 
Dante, and supremacy of Empire, 

Das Programm der NSXtAJ*., by 

Gottfried Feder, 256 
Dawes Loan and Plan, 1924, 64, 69 
Deaths in Great War, 34 
de Balla, V., author of The New 

Balance of Power in Europe, 

60, 179, 242 
Defence, British Memorandum on, 

1935* 130 
De la RepuUique > by Bodin, 120 

366 INDEX 

de la Roque, Colonel, and Hitler, 

Delaisi, Francis, on British Policy, 

Democracy, banner of League of 

Nations, 138 

De Monarchic,, by Dante, 119 
Denikin, 273 
Denmark and Nazi Germany, 255, 

British and American exports to, 

fear of Germany, 328 
Denny, Ludwell, on American eco- 

nomic triumph, 240, 347 
De Regimene Principum, by St. 

Thomas Aquinas, 119 
Der My thus des Zwanzigstens Jahr- 

hunderts, by Alfred Rosenberg, 

Der Totale Krieg, by Ludendorff, 

Der Zukunftsweg einer deutschen 

Aussenpolitik, by Alfred Rosen- 

berg, 256 

Deterding, Sir H., 285 
Devaluation and currency war, 102 
Diplomacy and war, 29 
Disarmament, British Plan, 1933, 

86 4 

imposed on Germany, 59 
Soviet proposals, 1922-32, 19, 312 
Disarmament Conference, 19, 312-13 
definition of aggressor, 311 
failure of, 1934, 158, 313 
opened 1932, 73 

preparatory Commission, 1926, 65 
Dnieprostroi electric power station, 

Dollfuss, assassination, 1934, 74, 257, 


Dominion Status, 234-6 
Dominions, British, advance in 

strength, 55 
and Anglo-American antagonism, 

and currency war, 102 

increasing independence, 234 
Drage, G., author of The Imperial 

Organisation of Trade, 237 
Duca, Premier of Rumania, mur- 
der of, 257, 268 
Dumping and Soviet, 280 et seq. 


SECURITY, 151, 157, 265, 314 
German denunciation, 257 
East, Middle, British imperialism 

in, 182 
ferment in, 1936, 37 
Ebert, 51 
Economic Aspects of Sovereignty, by 

R. G. Hawtrey, 29 
Economic Handbook of the Pacific 

Area, 209 
Economic Memorandum of Supreme 

Council, 1920, 80 

Economic Research, German Bureau 
of, on Armaments and Produc- 
tion, 18 
Economist, on British alternatives, 

i935> 299 

on economics of rearmament, in 
on Soviet success, 1927, 277 
on trade restrictions, 1931, 99-100 
Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony (British 
Foreign Secretary) and "re-dis- 
tribution," 171 
Education in U.S.S.R., 278 
Egypt and Italy, 1935-6, 245-6 
and League of Nations, 139 
as storm centre, 1919, 48 
British and American exports to, 

i93 195 

Eight-Power Expedition against 
Boxers, 1900, 136 

Einwohnerwehr, German counter- 
revolutionary organization, 59 

Einzig, Paul, on economics of re- 
armament, 111 

Emeny, Brooks, 172, 179 

Empire Cotton Growing Association, 

Empire Free Trade, 238 

Empire Stock-Taking, by L. St. Clare 
Grondona, 238 

Encirclement, distinguished from 
collective peace front, 337 

Encyclopedia Britannica on Capital- 
ism (1929), 82-3 

Engels, Friedrich, and International 

Communist League, 309 
Manifesto of the Communist Par- 


Entente, The Little, 157 
and Fascism, 328 
and revisionism, 179 
composition of and present prob- 
lems, 268 

r61e of within League, 146 
Eritrea, 245 
Esher, Lord, on expansionism, 1935, 


Esmin Pasha, 297 
Esthonia, rising in, 1924, 53 
Europe, in Japanese Pan-Asian Plan, 

1927, 221-2 
post-war debtor, 68 
European Steel Cartel, 127 
European Tariff Truce, 1930, 96 
Expansionism, 171 et seq. 
Exports, British, German, Ameri- 
can, 1913-34, 75 
German and British, 1930, 58 
post-war position, 69 et seq. 
Exports and Imports, British Em- 
pire, 1913-29, 234 
since Ottawa, 239-40 
under Open Door principle in 
Central Africa, 196 

FABRIGI, GENERAL, at Rominter 

meeting, 296 
Far East, complex antagonisms, 205 

et seq. 
focus of world antagonisms, 207-8, 


Fascism, and capitalism, 13, 35 
and International Labour Move- 
ment, 37, 50 
and League of Nations, 327-8 

INDEX 367 

and "re-distribution," 172 
argument against Collective Secur- 

ity, 167 

character of, 323-4 
concept of history, 22 
development of, 326 
glorification of war, 23, 167 
organisation for war, 323-6 
relationship to Soviet Union, 13, 

253, 292-7 

revisionist offensive, 241 et seq. 
struggle with democracy, 36 
war offensive, 146, 251-60, 292-7, 

319^ 326-9 
Fascism and Social Revolution, by 

Palme Dutt, 325-6 
Federation of British Industries, 

Memorandum on Monetary Pol- 

icy, i933 89, 106-7 
Mission to Manchukuo and Tokio, 

on Ottawa agreements, 239 
Feder, Gottfried, on Nazi aims, 256 
Field, V. F., 209 
Finlay and Bankers' Manifesto, 1926, 

Financial Times, on F.B.I. Mission 

to Manchukuo, 1934, 219-20 
Finanzkapital, by Hilferding, 124 
Finland and Eastern Locarno, 158 
counter-revolution, 1918, 49-50 
Fascist regime in, 268 
German influence, 296 
independence of, 308 
Non-Aggression Pact, 1933, 312 
Fischer, Louis, The Soviets in World 

Affairs, 47 
Five-Power Treaty. See Washington 


Five Year Plan, 1928-32, 275, 277-8 
Five Year Plan, 1933-7, 283 et seq. 
Flandin and German expansionism, 


Foch, Marshal, 285, 288 
breakdown of plans for invasion 

of Soviet, 1919, 48-9 
on Bolshevist menace, 290 

368 INDEX 

Foodstuffs, world production, 1913- 
29, 27-8, 65 

Fordney-McCumber tariff, 97 

Foreign Office, British, staff in- 
crease, 1913-32, 17 

Foreign Policy, nature of, 179-80 

Foreign Policy Association of New 
York on armaments increases, 

Foundations of German War Poli- 
cies, by Hierl, 25 in 

Four-Power Pact, project of, 1933, 

Franco-Italian Rome agreement, 

i935> 247 
France, colonial policy, 32n, 33 

Eastern Locarno plan, 158 

Far Eastern policy, 212 et seq. 

Fascism, 74, 262, 326 

foreign policy, opposing tenden- 
cies, 262, 297-8, 326 

Germany, relations with, 57-9, 154, 
254-5, 259, 262, 266, 290, 292 

Great Britain, relations with, 34, 
63 et seq., 144, 247, 265 

industrial output, 1925-9, 27, 66 

industrial output, 1928-32, 279 

invasion of Ruhr, 52 

invasion of Soviet Union, 48 

Italy, relations with, 148, 162, 247 

Kellogg Pact, 151 

League of Nations, 142 et seq. 

Locarno Pact, 65, 154 

London Naval Treaty, 1936, 76, 


Peace Plan, 1936, 149 
Poland, relations with, 159, 294 
President Wilson on, 1923, 4471 
Protocol, Geneva, 144 
Rearmament, 18, 113 
Rome Pact, 247 
Soviet Union, relations with, 48, 

147, 242. See also Franco-Soviet 


Supplies of commodities, 175 
tariff increases, 97 

treaties and alliances, 1920-7, 59-60 
Turkey, treaty with, 1921, 63 
unused productive capacity, 1934, 


United States, relations with, 150-1 
Versailles Treaty, 58-9, 142 
world war of 1914-18, 34, 57-9, 


Franco-Polish Treaty, 268 
Franco-Soviet Pact, 74, 151, 154, 
159-60, 162, 165, 257, 297, 314, 
Text, 159 

Free trade, and capitalism, 31 
development and results of 86 et 


ended at Ottawa, 1932, 73 
Manifesto on economic crisis, 83*1 
Fukien, seized by Japan, 213 
Fuller, Major-General J. F. C., on 
Colonial Acquisitions of Europe, 
1870-1900, 3272 


Garvin, J. L., on return of Soviet to 

Capitalism, 1924, 276 
Geddes, Sir Auckland, on Domin- 
ions and Motherland, 1924, 231 
Geneva Economic Conference, 1927, 

80- in, 80-2, 96 

Geneva, Naval Conference, 1927, 63 
Genoa Conference, 1922, 63, 276, 312 
German Dyes tuffs Trust, 26 
German Peace Note, December 1916, 

German-Polish Treaty, 1934, 258, 

264, 268 

German Steel Trust, 26 
Germany, blockade of, 1918-19, 49 
colonial policy, 32n, 33-4, 184, 187, 

202-3, 212, 267 
conscription, 74, 265, 350 
Eastern Pact, refusal, 158 
exports, 1913-34, 75 . 
Far Eastern policy, 211-12 
foreign debts of, 1925-9, 69 

France, relations with, 59, 64-5, 
*54 250-1, 254, 257, 259, 261-2, 
290, 292 

Franco-Soviet Pact, hostility to, 
159. 257, 297-8 

Great Britain, relations with, 33-4, 
57-8, 162, 202-3, 212, 247-8, 254-5, 
261, 262-66, 268-9, 298-305 

imports and exports to Central 
Africa, 196-7 

industrial production, 1913-33, 

industrial production, 1925-9, 27, 
58, 66 

Italy, relations with, 34, 244, 254, 

Japan, relations with, 205, 295-7 

League of Nations, 65, 136, 142, 
144-6, 314 

Lloyd George on, 45-7, 261 

Locarno Pact, 65, 154, 289 

Locarno Pact repudiation, 266 

Naval Agreement with Great Brit- 
ain, 1935, 265 

Naval Law, 1900, 212 

Nazi regime, 249 

Nazi regime, British support, 
162, 174, 248, 262-6, 268-9, 298- 

Nazi regime, colonial policy, 186-7, 

202, 267 
Nazi regime, expansionist aims, 

249 et seq. 
Nazi regime, foreign policy, 254, 

257-60, 292 
Nazi regime, war preparations, 

19, 249, 324 

"Peace Plan," 1936, 259, 266 
Poland, relations with, 157, 251, 

255-6, 292-7 

President Wilson on, 1923, 4471 
Rapallo Treaty, 64, 241 
Rearmament, 19, 74, 111-13 
Revisionist offensive, 170, 241, 249 

et seq. 
revolution and counter revolution, 

1918-21, 42, 46, 49-50 

INDEX 369 

revolution and counter-revolution, 

*923 53 
revolution and counter-revolution, 

i929-33> 53 291 
Rhineland, remilitarisation of, 

76, 266-7 

Ruhr, French invasion of, 64 
Soviet Union, relations with, 64, 

241, 253, 264, 285 et seq. 
stabilisation of capitalism, 64 et 


steel production, 58, 95 
supplies of commodities, 175 
tariff increases, 97 
United States, relations with, 57, 


unused productive capacity, 96 
Versailles Treaty effects, 58-9 
war aims, 249 et seq. 9 286 et seq. 
world domination aims, 202, 255, 

345- 6 
world war, 1914-18, 33-4, 39-42, 

Germany's War Machine, by Albert 

Miiller, 324 
Ghenghis Khan, 3271 
Ghibellines, 119 
Gladstone, W. E., 86 

public right and Alexandria, 122 
Goebbels, on German need for Col- 
onies, 192 

Goemboes, Prime Minister of Hun- 
gary, at Rominter meeting, 296 
Goering, General, at Rominter meet- 
ing, 296 

"hunting parties" in Poland, 264 
meeting with Japanese, 1936, 296 
on German rearmament, 78 
plan for war, 267 

Gold, American and British hold- 
ings, 1913-31* I0 3 
flow from America, after 1924, 69 

et seq. 
the Gold bloc countries, 1936, 


Gold Standard, and sterling, 89 
collapse of, 1931, 73, 77 

370 INDEX 

post-war re-establishment of, 65, 

100 et seq* 
pre-war, 21 
Gooch, Dr. G. P., on "satiation" of 

Great Britain, 176, 182 
Goode, Sir William, on European 

Reconstruction, 1920, 50 
Gorky, automobile works of, 278 
Graves, General W. S., on Japanese 

future wars, 228-9 
Great Britain, armaments expendi- 
ture increase, 1913-30, 18 
armaments expenditure increase, 

1932-1936. 19 

armaments shares values, 113-14 
China, interests in, 210-11 
collective security, policy towards, 

130, 142-3, 149, 218-19, 246-49, 

269, 335 
colonial policy, 3212, 58, 175, 184-8, 

198-203, 346 
colonies, question of return to 

Germany, 202 
Council of Action, 1920, 52 
Currency policy, 100-107 
disarmament, policy on, i82n, 264 
Empire. See British Empire 
exports and imports to Empire, 

*34 237-8* 240 
exports compared with American 

(table), 195 
exports compared with German, 


exports to Central Africa, 196-7 
exports to China, 1913-25, 213 
Far Eastern policy, 205 et seq. 
Fascism, 301, 325 
foreign investments, 103 
Foreign Office memorandum on 
Bolshevism in Europe, 1918, 137 
Great Britain, foreign policy, pres- 
ent crisis of, 149, 225-227, 269-70, 

France, relations with, 34, 63 et 

seq., 144, 247, 265 
General Strike, 1926, 53 
Germany, relations with, 33-4, 57- 

8, 162, 202-3, 212, 247, 248, 254 

5, 261, 263-266, 268-270, 298-30? 
gold standard, 100 et seq. 
industrial output, 1913-33, 278 
industrial output, 1925-9, 66 
industrial output, 1928-32, 279 
Italy, relations with, 147-148, 24^ 

et seq. 
Japan, relations with, 145, 154 

205 etseq., 301-2 
Kellogg Pact, 151-2 
League of Nations, 130, 137-8, 142 

50, 218-19, 246-8 
Locarno Pact, 65, 154 
National Government, 73, 93 
National Government, foreigr 

policy, 130, 149, i82n, 218-20 

245-8, 262-70, 302-5 
naval policy, 61-3, 212, 214-15, 265 
Pan-Europe, relation to, 155-6 
"satiation" theories, 176, 182^, 182 
Soviet Union, relations with, 46- 

49* !37-8 273, 279-80, 285 et seq., 


tariff increases, 97, 238 
United States, relations with. See 

Anglo-American antagonism 
Versailles Treaty, gains from, 58 
War debts, 64, 67, 75, 8377, 84 
world war, 1914-18, 33-4, 39-42, 


world domination aims, 346 
Greece, British support for, 63 

conflict with Bulgaria, 1925, 161 
Grey, Sir Edward, on probable dura- 
tion of war, 1906, 1914, 40 
on Soviet Government, 1927, 271 
Groener, General, on Anglo-Russian 

antagonism, 291 
Grondona, L. St. Clare, on Empire 

Stock-Taking, 238 
Guelphs, 119 

HADFIELD, value of shares, 114 
Hague Conferences, 20, 34 
"Hands Off China," declaration of 
i9 225 

Harding, President, and "normalcy/* 

"Haves" and "Have-Nots," 171 et 


Hawtrey, R. G., on diplomacy, 29 
Hay, John, U.S. Secretary of State, 

on Far East, 207-871 
on Open Door in China, 211-12 
Hayashi, Baron, Japanese Ambassa- 
dor to London, 215 
Hearst, W. R., 285 
Hegel, on relation of States, 117, 121 
Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur, Social- 
Democrat, 51-2 
Herriot, Government of, 69 
Hertzog and South African inde- 
pendence, 235 

Hierl, Colonel, on German "paci- 
fism," 25 in 

Hilferding, German Social Demo- 
crat, 67 

on world organisation, 124 
Hirota, Japanese Foreign Minister, 
on Anglo-Japanese co-operation, 
1935. 216 

Ministry of, 1936, 217 
Hirst, F. W., 8471 

History of American Foreign Rela- 
tions, by L. M. Sears, 224 
Hitler, Adolf, 87, 91 
and British mandated territories, 


and European situation, 20 
and German rearmament, 19 
and German revisionist offensive, 

241 et seq. 
and Laval, 298 
and "re-distribution," 171 
co-operation of Great Britain 

with, 262-6, 326 
diplomatic methods, 251 
effect on German trade, 75 
effect on international situation, 


in power, 1933, 20, 74 
Mein Kampf, 250-5 
meeting with Mussolini, 1934, 2 44 

INDEX 371 

meeting with Pilsudski, and Uk- 
raine, 293-4 

murder coup of June 1934, 264 
on destiny of White races, 190 
on localised war, 258 
on world domination, 345-6 
Peace Plan, 1936, 259-60 
policy of aggression, 157 
significance of his advent, 249 et 


unlimited power of, 324 
Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir Samuel, on 

equality of markets, 198-9 
on monopolies, etc., 200 
on "re-distribution," 1935, 184*6 
Hoare-Laval Plan, 148 
Hobbes, 120 
Hoffmann, General, "hero" of Brest- 

Litovsk, 288 
Holland and Nazi Germany, 255, 


Holland, Sir Thomas, on distribu- 
tion of commodities, 175 
Holy Alliance, 135 
Hong Kong, exports to China, 1913- 

25 213 

in possible clash with Japan, 227 
strategic value of, 210-11 
Hoover, Herbert, Note of November 
1918 on proposals for inter- 
allied economic organisation, 


on American opposition to Bol- 
shevism, 1921, 47 
on cancellation of debts, 8371 
on world outlook, 1928, 66 
Hoover Moratorium, 1931, 72, 75, 

Home, Sir Robert, on breakdown 

of Bolshevism, 275-6 
on project of Pan-Europe, 156 
Horthy, dictatorship in Hungary, 49 
House, Colonel, on Anglo-American 

antagonism, 1919, 61 
Hungary, and revisionism, 179, 268 
German influence, 296 
in German war plan, 267 


Hungary, opposition 
Treaties, 241 


to Peace Import Duties Advisory Committee, 
1932, 106 

overthrow of Soviet regime in, 49 

Imperial Conference, 1926, 232, 235 
Imperialism, 12 
and capitalism, 24-5 
and collective security, 160 et seq. 
Imperialism, and Colonies, nature 

of relationship, 198 
and disarmament, 312-13 
and Fascism, 323-4 
and foreign policy, 179-81 
and issues of revision, 243 
and League of Nations, 135-6, 150 
and "re-distribution," 174 
and Soviet Union, 272 et seq. 
and world organisation, 115 et seq. 
antagonisms of, and League of 

Nations, 141-2 
attitude to Japanese expansion, 

ziB et seq. 

basic antagonisms, 204-5 
central Anglo-American antagon- 
ism, 194 et seq. 
colonies and, 14 
conflicts of, in Pacific, 208 
development of, 31 et seq. f 86 et 


failure of 1914 and 1918, 40-1 
failure to overthrow Soviet, 47-8 
incapable of world organisation, 


incapacity for collective aim, 333 
ring broken by entry of Soviet 

into League, 147 
theories of colonial policy, 190 et 


war of, 1914-18, 34 et seq. 
why it is arming, 1936, 171 et seq. 
World State impossible under, 125 
Imperialism and World Economy, 

by Bucharin, 12871 
Imperialism and, "World, Politics, by 

P. T. Moon, 2o8n 

Imports and Exports, Empire, since 

Ottawa, 239-40 
under "Open Door" principle in 

Central Africa, 196-7 
India and Anglo-Japanese Treaty, 

1905* 213 

and League of Nations, 139 
as storm centre, 1919, 48 
British and American exports to, 

193> *95 (table) 
cotton growing, 199 
in Chinese Pan- Asian Plan, 1927, 

221, 347 

mass struggles, 1930-4, 53 
population density, 210 
revolutionary advances in, 13-14 
revolution maturing, 331 
Indo-China, population density, 209 
Industrial goods, production of, 

1925-9, 65-6 
Industrial shares, market value of, 

1925-9, 66 
Industry, modern rationalised, and 

great trusts, 26 
Institut fur Konjunkturforschung, 

International Bank, projects for, 

1929* 65, 90 
International Bankers' Manifesto, 

1926, 96-7 
International Blockade Committee 

of League, 1921, 144 
International Communist League, 

1847, 309 
International Labour Movement, 37, 

49-5i 33 ' 1 ' 334 
International Law, nature of at 

present, 29 
International Politics, by Professor 

Frederick L. Schuman, 117, 179, 

35 1 
International relations, economic, 

21 et seq. 
International relations, political, 

1936 and 1913, 19-20 



International Rubber Regulation 

Committee, 198 
International Settlement, Shanghai, 


International tin monopoly, 198 
International trade, restrictions on, 


Inter-Parliamentary Union of En- 
quiry on casualties, 1914-18, 34 
Intimate Diary of the Peace Confer- 
ence and After, by Lord Rid- 
dell, 58 
Iraq, and British search for oil, 199 

cotton growing, 199 
Ireland and League of Nations, 139 
as storm centre, 1919, 48 
British and American exports to, 

i93 195 
independence of, 236 

Iron Guard, Pro-Fascist Rumania, 

Ishimaru, Commander Tota, on ul- 
timate conflict between Japan 
and Britain, 222 

Isolation, American post-war policy, 


Isolationism, 21, 93 
Italo-Abyssinian War, 37, 74, 147-8, 

186, 245 et seq. 

and British imperialism, 245-248 
and Kellogg Pact, 152 
and League of Nations, 148-9, 161- 

*> 345-9. 

and working class, 332 
Italy and British Mediterranean Em- 
pire, 231-2 

and Colonial scramble, pre-igi4, 


and Kellogg Pact, 153 
and League, 12, 145 
and Locarno Pact, 65, 154-5 
and murder of Dollfuss, 264 
and "re-distribution," 171, 188 
and Revisionism, 20, 179 
and totalitarian war, 108 
and wars of conquest, 170 
British and American exports to, 


challenge of, 1936, 204 et seq. 
dictatorship in, 35 
"dissatisfied" after war, 176 
expansionist nation, 176 
German policy towards, 1936, 254 
Italy, imports and exports to Cen- 

tral Africa, 196-7 
increased armaments expenditure, 

ig^-S ' l8 
population problem and Abys- 

sinia, 192 

recovery and rearmament, 112 
Revisionist Offensive, 241 et seq. 
supplies of commodities, 175 
unstable ally of Germany, 34 
unused productive capacity, 1935, 


war on Abyssinia, see Italo-Abys- 

sinian War 
war in Tripoli, 32 

JAPAN, abandonment of alliance 
with Great Britain, 1921, 63 

advance in strength, 55 

alliance with Great Britain, 212 
et seq. 

and British trade in China, 220 

and China's appeal to League, 


and Germany, 1933, 294-5 
and League, 1931-3, 145 
and Naval parity, 214-15 
and Nine-Power Treaty, 154 
and "re-distribution," 171, 188 
and Revisionism, 20 
and totalitarian war, 108 
and Turkey, 1934, 297 
and White Man's burden, 190 
and world domination, 347 
antagonisms in Pacific, 20 
British and American exports to, 

challenge of, 1936, 204 et seq. 
conference of Naval and Military 

attaches, Berlin, 1935, 295 
"dissatisfied" after war, 176 

374 INDEX 

expansionist nation, 174, 177 
extension of war in China, 1936, 


first war on China, 1894-5, 212 

in German war plans, 286 

increased Armaments expendi- 
ture, 1913-50, 1931-6, 18, 19 

industrial output, 1928-32, 279 

in German war plan, 267 

invasion of China, 20, 73, 92, 129, 
162, 174-5, 216 

invasion of China, 1931, and 
League, 12, 20, 145 

invasion of Manchuria and Kel- 
logg Pact, 20, 153 

invasion of Soviet Union, 48, 273 

Military Treaty with Germany, 
193 6 205, 228 

naval building, 1920-1, 62 

offensive in China, 20 

on British and American power 
in Far East, 211 

outside League, 314 

plans against Soviet, 286-7 

plans for war on Soviet, 297 

population density, 209-10 

population problem and Man- 
churia, 191 

pre-war trade with China, 211 

proposals to guarantee no distinc- 
tion of race under League, 136-7 

protectorate over China, 1934, 216- 

reasons for offensive in Far East, 


recovery and rearmament, 111-13 
repudiation of Washington trea- 
ties, 1935, 6 3> 74 
results of invasion of China, 206 

et seq. 

supplies of commodities, 175 
Three-Point Programme (China), 

Twenty-one Demands to China, 

1915* 213 
ultimate conflict with America 

and Great Britain* 221-2 

wars of conquest, 170 

war offensive unchecked, 1931-6, 

war with Russia, 1904-5, 212 

Japan and the Pacific, by Nathaniel 
Peffer, 224 

Japan Must Fight Britain, by Tota 
Ishimaru, 222 

Java, population density, 209-10 

Jehol, Japanese control of, 206, 216, 
S8 7 

Jevons, Professor Stanley, on "re- 
distribution," 188 

Jost, Major, head of Press Depart- 
ment, German War Ministry, 


Jusserand, President Wilson and, 
1923, 44n 


Kant, proposals for world federa- 
tion, 117-18 
Kapp Putsch, 1920, 52 
Karl, Emperor, proposal to stop war, 

1916, 4i 

Kautsky, theory of ultra-imperial- 
ism, 124 
Kellogg, on post-war credits and 

debts, 68-9 

Kellogg Pact, 1928, 65, 151 et seq. 
broken by Japan, 1931, 20, 73 
ratified by Soviet, 311 
violations of, 77 
Kemal, Mustapha, and Treaty of 

Sevres, 63 

Kennedy, Captain D, M., on Japan- 
ese Policy, 1935, 227 
Kenya, cotton growing, 199 
Kerensky, 308 

and expansionism, 178 
Kerney, James, correspondent of 

President Wilson, 1923, 44n 
Keynes, J. M,, on Slumps and War, 


on World Economic Crisis, 8371 
Kharkov, tractor works of, 278 

Kiaochow Bay, leased by Germany, 

1898, 211 
Kiel Congress (Social Democrats), 

1927* 67 
Kindersley, Sir Robert, on British 

investments abroad, 103 
Kolchak, 273 
Korea, separation of, 212 
Kreuger, 285 
Kuczynski, Dr., on German finances, 

1928, 70 

Kuomintang, The, 214 
Kwangchow Bay, leased by France, 


LABOUR COLLEGES, National Coun- 
cil, 18271, 318 

Labour Monthly, 80-8 in 

Labour Party and Second Interna- 
tional, 334 
Conference resolution on World 

Economic Conference, 187-8 
Government, 1924, 69 

Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George, and "re- 
distribution," 171 

Lansdowne, Lord, proposal to stop 
war, 1916, 40-1 

Lasson, on relations of States, 121 

Lausanne Conference, 1932,63,73,75 

Lauterpacht, H., 121 

Laval and Hitler, 262, 298 

Laval-Hoare Plan, 148 

Lawrence, Sir Henry, on German 
rearmament, 262 

Lawton, L., on European foreign 
policy, 1934, 293 

League of Nations, 128 et seq. 
alternative to Bolshevism, 1919, 

an attempt at world organisation, 

and Communism in Europe, 1918, 


and expansionism, 174 
and Fascism, 327-8 
and Franco-Soviet Pact, 159 

INDEX 375 

and Italo-Abyssinian War, 246-7 

et seq. 

and Japan, 1931-3, 20, 73, 145 
and "re-distribution," 201 
and revision of treaties, 242 
and unilateral condemnation of 

treaties, 265 

and wars of aggression, 1927, 65 
and world organisation, 115 
anti-Soviet orientation, 144-5 
"collective security" and Covenant, 


Commission to Manchuria, 218 
constitution, 1934, 314 
dependence on Great Powers, 131 
economic sanctions, 74 
factors governing its formation, 


future of, 149-50 
in international relations, 19-20 
index of unemployment, 1929-34, 


left by Japan, 1933, 216 
liquidatory tendencies, 159-60 
loans to small States, 65 
Lord Lothian on, 149 
Memorandum on Production and 

Trade, 1923-9, 28 
nature of, 126 
''neutral States" group, 268 
President Wilson's dreams, 57 
proposals for, 44 
r61e and functioning of, 129 
r61e of small States, 146 
role of unanimity, 166 
Russian plan for, 1918, 139-41 
weakening of, 76 
weakness and impotence of, 12 
Lees-Smith, H. B., on Japanese in- 
vasion of China, 1932, 174-5, 

Lenin, on fight against imperialist 

war, 322 
on national wars in Europe, 1916, 

on national self-determination, 


on New Economic Policy, 275 

on single world trust, 12871 

on utilisation of all factors by 

working class, 337 
on world revolution, 274 
political conception, 1918, 43 et 

Leningrad and British bombing 

aeroplanes, 15 
Le Nouveau Cynee, by Grace", 1623, 

VEquilibre des Continents, by M. 

H. Cornejo, 129 

Les Legons de 1914 et la prochaine 
guerre, by General Mordacq, 325 
Leviathan, by Hobbes, 120 
Liaotung Peninsula, cession to Ja- 
pan, 212 

Liberalism and Capitalism, 86 et seq. 
and principle of "collective se- 
curity," 163-4 
and "re-distribution," 181, 183-4, 


ideology of, 122 
present outlook, 23 
Libya, 246 
Liebknecht, Karl, 49 
Little Englanders, 342 
Litvinov on nature of Capitalist 

States, 339 
proposal for Permanent Peace 

Conference, 1934, 158 
proposals for security, 1934, 313 
statement on joining League, 1934, 

Lloyd George, Rt. Hon. David, 51, 


and Soviet, 1922, 63 
and Wilson, on naval building, 

1919, 61-2 

appointed Prime Minister, 1916, 41 
fall of Government, 1922, 63 
Memorandum of March, 1919, 

45-6, 63 

on British success at Versailles, 58 
on expenditure against Soviet, 273 

on German Naaism, 1933, 1934, 


on League as alternative to Bol- 
shevism, 1919, 138 
on Revolutionary movements in 

Europe, 1919, 45-7 
on supremacy of British Navy, 62 
Localisation of war, 160, 257-8 
Locarno Treaties, 1925, 12, 65, 144, 

151, ifeetseq. 
breakdown of, 76, 154 
denunciation by Germany, 1936, 


Dominions not signatories, 235 
Hitler and, 251 
significance, 289 
London, Bishop of, on rearmament, 


London Conference, 1924, 64 
London Conference, 1935, 158 
London Naval Conference, 1936, 74, 


London Naval Treaty, 1930, 63 
London Naval Treaty, 1936, 76, 215 
London Three- Power Treaty, 1930, 

London Treaty of Britain, France, 

Italy, 1915, 243 

Londonderry, Lord, and air bomb- 
ing, 18272 
Lorraine and French post-war aims, 


Lothian, Lord, and "collective secur- 
ity," 149, 161 
on capitalism, 11972 
on British resistance to Japan, 227 
on German position, 263 
on "re-distribution," 188 
on repudiation of Washington 

Treaties, 218-19 
Ludendorff, 285 
breakdown of plans for invasion 

of Soviet, 1919, 48-9 
on next war, 23 
plans for war on Soviet, 288 
supremacy of, 41 


Luxemburg, Rosa, 49, 308 
Lytton, Lord, on Japanese repudia- 
tion of Nine-Power Treaty, 218 

McCuRDY, on Dominions question of 

British stability, 232 
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. Ramsay, 
and German rearmament, 264 
Government of, 69 
role in Britain, 51 
Macchiavelli, 120 

Madrid, and British bombing aero- 
planes, 15 

Maffey, Sir John, Inter-department- 
al Report, June, 1935, 245 
Magnitogorsk, steel works of, 278 
Malaya, British and American ex- 
ports to, 1930, 195 
population density, 209 
Manchester Guardian, on Briand 

and Pan-Europe, 155-6 
Manchukuo, establishment of, 1932, 

154* 216 

Japanese control of, 206, 287 
Manchuria. See also China, North 
in Japanese Pan-Asian Plan, 1922, 

221, 347 

Japanese domination, 212 
League of Nations Commission to, 


seized by Japan, 1915, 213 
Mandates, 165, 171 
and Soviet, 314 
British, and Hitler, 202 
real nature of, 136 
Smuts' proposals for Eastern Eu- 
rope, 137 
Manifesto of the Communist Party, 

by Marx and Engels, 351 
Mannerheim, General, and White 

Terror in Finland, 49 
at Rominter meeting, 296 
Marx, Karl, and International Com- 
munist League, 309 


the Communist 

Manifesto of 

Party, 31 

on future world society, 317 
on world power of Communism, 


proletarian internationalism, 118 
Marxism, and world outlook, 1925-8, 


and War of 1914-18, 122 
Matoussima, Admiral, in Angora, 


Maurois, Andre", and anti-collectiv- 
ism, 344n 

Medicine, in U.S.S.R., 278 

Mediterranean, and Italo-Abyssin- 

ian War, 147-8 
British control, 245 

Mein Kampf, and Soviet Union, 310 
editions and translations, 250-1 
on German co-operation with 

Great Britain, 203/1 
on world domination, 345 

Melchett-Beaverbrook campaign, 
Empire Free Trade, 238 

Melchett, Lord, on expansion of 
production, 93-4 

Mellon, Andrew, on economic crisis, 
1932, 8471 

Memel, 298 

Memorandum on Production and 
Trade, 1923-9 (League of Na- 
tions), 28 

Mesopotamia, 322 
Anglo-German convention, 1914, 

1 8 4 

oil, Curzon-Colby correspondence, 
1920, 61 

Mexico, British search for oil, 199 

Miliukov, and expansionism, 178 

Mitchell, Brigadier-General Wil- 
liam, on American-Japanese en- 
mity, 1934, 224 

Mohrus, Dr. Oskar, on international 
organisation of production, 91 

Molotov, and German expansionism, 

378 INDEX 

report on Soviet production, 95 
Mongolia, in Japanese Pan-Asian 

Plan, 1927, 221, 347 
Mongolia, inner, seized by Japan, 

213, 287 

Mongolia, outer, 287 
Monopoly, advance to and results 

of, 87 et seq. 

evolution and (Kautsky), 124 
Monroe doctrine, 33, 233 
and Kellogg Pact, 151-2 
Moon, P. T., 2o8n 
Moore, F., author of America's 

Naval Challenge, 62 
Mordacq, General, on next war, 325 
Moreau, on economic crisis, 8471 
Morgan, and Bankers' Manifesto, 

1926, 98 
Morgan, Professor J. H., on Declara- 

tion of 1926, 236 

Morocco, Colonial struggles, 1925, 53 
Moscow and British bombing aero- 

planes, 15 
Mosley, Sir Oswald, and German- 

Soviet antagonism, 301 
Mosul, under Treaty of Lausanne, 

Mozambique, 184 

Miiller, Albert, 324 

Mussolini, 87 

aims against British Empire, 246 
and decay of British Empire, 346 
and Four-Power Pact, 264 
and re-distribution, 171 
call for revision of Versailles, 244 
co-operation of Great Britain and 

France with, 326 
meeting with Hitler, 1934, 244 
on ideal of war, 1936, 324-5 
on "satisfied" Italy, 1936, 248 

Must We Fight in Asia? by Na- 
thaniel Peffer, 224 

Mutton, empire supplies, 238 

Mutual Assistance Pact (Soviet and 
Czecho-SIovakia), 314 


ese conflict, 225 

Napoleon, and workers, 349 
projects for federation of Eu- 
rope, 117 

National Government and Collective 

Security, 149 
formation of, 1931, 73 

National Peace Council, and "re- 
distribution, 1935, 188 et seq. 

National Socialism, character of, 


Hitler's hope for world domina- 
tion, 345-6 

National-Socialist Political A. B.C., 
* 5 6 

Nationalstaat, Imperiatistischer Staat 
und Staatenbundj Kautsky, 124 

Navy, Anglo-American building 

race, 61 

British, in Far East, 227 
supremacy challenged by U. S. 

A., 57 
expenditure on by Great Powers, 

1912-34, 18 
German, 1935, 58 

handed over at Versailles, 58 
Japanese, equipment of, 212 
One-Power Standard, 62 
principle of Naval Parity, 213 
Nazism, June Purge, 1934, 74 
menace of in Europe, 20-1 
murder of opponents, 257 
racial megalomania, etc., 251 
song of Storm Troops, 345 
Near East, and Fascist revisionism, 


Italy and British Empire in, 231 
Netherlands, British and American 

exports to, 1930, 195 
New Deal, Roosevelt's regime, 1933, 

New Economic Policy of Soviet 

Union, 1921, 275 
Newspapers, in U.S.S.R., 278 
New Zealand, and Japanese aggres- 
sion, 223 
area and population, 209 

British and American exports to, 

1930* 195 

Nigeria, British and American ex- 
ports to, 1930, 195 
imports and exports (United 
Kingdom, Germany, Italy), 196 

Nile, Italian and British interests, 


Nine-Power Treaty. See Washing- 
ton Treaties 

Norman, Montagu, and Schacht, 
262, 294 

Norway and Sweden, 1905, 242 

Norway, British and American ex- 
ports to, 1930, 195 

Noske, 51 

Nourse, Edwin G., 95 

OATS, Empire supply, 238 
Observer, The, on British bombing 

aeroplanes, 15 

on German-Poland-Japan rela- 
tions, 295 

Oil, and Italo-Abyssinian War, 148 
Anglo-American antagonism, 199 
Anglo-American conflict, 69 
monopolies, 26 
monopoly established by Japan in 

North China, 92 
Open Door in China, 154, 211 
principles in Africa, 196 
theories and realities, 196-9 
to Japan, 225 
Opium Wars, 180, 211 
Orgesch, German counter-revolu- 
tionary organisation, 59 
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. C. A., on 

Locarno, 289 

Ottawa agreements and tariffs, 97-9 
Ottawa Empire Economic Confer- 
ence, 1932, 73, 195, 238 et seq. 
and Far Eastern problem, 223 
Outer Mongolian People's Republic, 


"Over-population," 28 
and Colonial policy, 191-2 
and expansionism, 178 

INDEX 379 

PACIFIC, domination of, 208 et seq. 
fortification of, 224 
naval bases prohibited, 213 
populations of, 209 
triple antagonism in, 20 

Pacifism, 166, 251, 336 

Page, U.S. Ambassador note to 
President Wilson, March, 1917, 


Paine, Tom, 117 
Paish, Sir George 8471 
Pan-American League, 151 
"Pan-Asia," 221 
Paneuropa, 155 
Pan-Europe AJB.C., by R. N. Coud- 

enhove-Kalergi, 1931, 15571 
Pan-Europe Conference, Berlin, 

1930, 156 
Pan-Europe, projects for, 65, 151, 


Pan-Europe Union, 1923-30, 155 
Paraguay, war in, 20, 167 
Paris Commune, 136, 272 
Paris Pact. See Kellogg Pact 
Peace, possibilities of Collective 

Front for, 334-5 
Peace Conference, overshadowed by 

need to defeat revolution, 45-6 
Peace Decree, 1917 (of Soviet), 305 
Peace Front, 333-8 
Peace Plan, Hitler's, of March, 1936, 

Peffer, Nathaniel, on inevitable 
American-Japanese Conflict, 224 
Pekin, looting of, 1900, 136 

occupation of, 32 
People's front, 321, 334 
development of, 330-2 
French, 1934, 74, 262, 298 
Percy, Lord Eustace, on national or- 
ganisation for war, io8n 
Perez, Dr., on Soviet dumping, 281 
Permanent Peace Conference, Lit- 
vinov's proposals, 1934, 158, 313 
Persia, and British search for oil, 

British imperialism in, 182 


Non-Aggression Pact, 1933, 312 
Soviet Treaty with, 1921, 311 
Treaty of Non- Aggression, 1929, 

Peru, and Anglo-American antago- 

nism, 229 

and League of Nations, 167 
Philippines, and League of Nations, 


conquest by U.S.A., 1898, 211 
Philosophical Theory of the State, 

by Bosanquet, 121 
Pilsudski, meeting with Hitler, and 

Ukraine, 293 
Poincare, Pres. Raymond, 129 

and Ruhr, 1923, 64 
Poincar and traditions of, 262 
on reparations, 59 
replacement of Briand, 64 
Poland, alliance with France, 1921, 


and Central European bloc, 294 
and Eastern Locarno, 158 
and Nazi Germany, 255, 267, 286 
and Peace Pact proposals, 1934, 


and post-war Balance, 242 
and revisionism, 179 
Corridor and Upper Silesia, 292 
independence of, 139 
invasion of Soviet, 48 
national majority and minorities, 


non-aggression pact, 1933, 312 
plans for war on Soviet, 297 
rearmament of, 113 
revolutionary movements in, 13 
Treaty of Non-Aggression, 1929, 


Treaty with Germany, 1934, 157 
Poland's Political Aims, by Wladi- 

mir Studnicki, 294 
Pope, encyclical against Communists, 

J932* 287*1 

Port Arthur, conquest by Japan, 212 
Portugal, Anglo-German proposals 

for cession of colonies, 34, 184 

Pravda, forged issues by Scotland 

Yard, 309 
Principe, 184 
Private Law Sources by Lauterpacht, 


Production, increase, 27, 65-6 
increased, con traditions of, 70-1 
restriction, 93-6, no 
Protocol, Geneva, 1924, 142, 144 
Protocol, of Franco-Soviet Pact, 159- 

RACIAL QUESTIONS, 137, 190, 230, 315 
Radziwill, Prince, at Rominter meet- 
ing, 296 
Rainey, on Ottawa agreements and 

American trade, 239 
Rapallo, Treaty of, 64, 179, 241, 

288, 311 

Rationalisation, 27, 70-1, 82 
Raum und Folk im Weltkeit, by 

Prof. Banse, 20371 
Raw materials, Colonial proposals 

for redistribution, 183 et seq. 
distribution question, 12, 171, 184-5 
production, 1925-9, 65-6 
world production, 1913-28, 27 
Rearmament, 12 

and war, economics of, 107 et seq. 
German, 1934, 74, 75, 260, et seq. 
national, 1932-6, 19 
Naval, British, 215 
on Stock Exchange values, 1 10 
Recent Economic Changes in C7.S^i. 
(Hoover Committee Report, 

1929). *3 

Recovery, by Sir Arthur Salter, 27 
Red Sea, British control, 245 
Reformism, colonial "redistribu- 
tion" proposals, 171, 175, 188 
pacifist illusions, 166, 336 
post-war r61e, 50-1 
theories of organised capitalism, 

66-7, 9871, 124-5 
weakening, 330 
Renaudel, Pierre, 51 
Renner, Karl, 51 

Reparations, 12, 58-9, 69, 73, 75 
Review of World Trade, 1934 

(League of Nations), 99 
Revisionism, 12, 241 et seq. 
after Versailles, 179 
and end of World War, 42 
Fascist offensive for, 20, 241 et seq, 
Revolution, Colonial, 321 

and Counter Revolution, 1918-36, 

43 et seq. 

immanence of series of, 1936, 13 
new large-scale struggle at hand, 

1936, 53 

Russian, reasons for success of, 48 
wave of, defeated by capitalism, 35 
Rhine, and French post-war aims, 

57> 322 
Rhineland, re-militarisation of, 1936, 

75-6, 162, 248, 251, 266, 319 
Richmond, Admiral Sir Herbert, on 
Naval expenditure, 1912-34, 18 
Sea Power in the Modern World, 


Riddell, Lord, Intimate Diary of the 
Peace Conference and After, 58 
Rist, Charles, on economic crisis, 8471 
Rome and British bombing aero- 
planes, 15 
Rome Pacts, 1934 and 1936, (Italy, 

Austria, Hungary), 244 
Rominter meeting, 1935, 296 
Roosevelt, Pres. Franklin D., his 

New Deal, 1933, 74 
on production expansion, 94 
stabilisation, 1933, 105 
subsidies to cotton farmers, 199 
Rosenberg, Alfred, on Nazi aims, 256 
Ross, Leith, leader of British Mis- 
sion to Tokio, 1935, 225 
Rothennere, Lord, 285 
Rothermere Press, and German-Jap- 
anese offensive, 300 
Roucek, J. S., author of The Work- 
ing of the Minorities System un- 
der the League of Nations, 60 
Round Table, The, on Dominions* 
rights, 1927, 236 

INDEX 381 

on Mussolini's aims against Brit- 
ish Empire, 246 
Rousseau, proposal for federation of 

States, 117 
Rowan-Robinson, Major-General H., 

on efficiency of Fascism, 325 
Rubber, Anglo-American antagon- 
ism, 199 
Ruhr, and French post-war aims, 57, 

59^ 64 

occupation of, 59, 64 
Workers* Councils in, 1920, 52 
Rumania, alliance with Czecho-Slo- 
vakia and Yugoslavia, 1921, 60 
alliance with France, 1926, 60 
Rumania, and post-war Balance, 242 
and revisionism, 268 
enlargement of, 47 
invasion of Hungary, 49 
national majority and minorities, 


non-aggression pact, 1933, 312 
Treaty of Non-Aggression, 1929, 

Russia, Revolution and end of 

World War, 41-2 
Revolution, armed operations 

against, 136 

Revolution, consequence of, 35 
Revolution, significance of, 118 
Smuts* mandate proposals, 1918, 


Russia, Soviet. See Soviet Union 
Russia, Tsarist, aims in great war, 


alliance with Great Britain, 34 
and cession of Liaotung, 212 
and colonial scramble, 33 
claims in Far East, 211-12 
expansionist policy of, 178 
war with Japan, 1904-5, 32, 212 
Rust, Dr., on Mein Kampf in schools, 


Rykov, A. I., on Soviet Union and 
Communist International, 310 

SAAR, and French post-war aims, 57 


and Hitler, 251 
occupation of, 59 
return to Germany, 265 
St. Germain, Treaty of, 244 
Saint-Pierre, Abbe, 117 
St. Thomas Aquinas, and supremacy 

of Papacy, 119 

Saito, H., Japanese ambassador to 
China, on protectorate over 
China, 217 

Sakhalin, Province, 287 
Salter, Dr., on access to raw ma- 

terials, 175 
Salter, Sir Arthur, on Colonial pop- 

ulations, 191-3 
on "redistribution," 188 
on world production and world 

population, 27 
Sanctions, Clauses of Covenant, 144 

economic, against Italy, 148 
San Remo, Curzon-Colby corres- 

pondence, 1920, 61 
San Thome, 184 
Sawada, General, meeting with Go- 

ering, 1936, 296 
Saxony, suppressions of Workers' 

Governments, 1923, 53 
Scandinavia, German influence, 296 
Scandinavian States, rdle of within 

League, 146 
Schacht, Dr., 91 

and Bankers' Manifesto, 1926, 98 
and Montagu Norman, 262 
meeting with Norman and Tan- 

nery, 1935, 294 

Scheidemann, Social-Democrat, 51 
Schuman, Professor Frederick L., on 

bourgeois standpoint, 351 
author of International Politics, 

Schuster, Sir George, on effects of 

Ottawa, 240 
Sea Power in the Modern World, 

by Sir Herbert Richmond, 18, 40 
Sea Power in the Pacific, by H. C. 

Bywater, 210-11 

Sears, L. M., on significance of Am- 
erican recognition of Soviet 
Union, 224 

Second International, 51, 330, 334 
Seldes, Gilbert, author of The Years 

of the Locust, 94 
Seligman, Sir Charles, on Anglo- 
Japanese friendship, 1934, 219 
Serbia, Independence of, 139 
S&vres, Treaty of, 63 
Shanghai, and Kuomintang, 1927, 


bombardment of, 1932, 73 
in possible British clash with 

Japan, 227 

Japanese attack on, 1932, 216 
strategic value of, 211 
Shantung, seized by Japan, 213 
Shinsaku, Hirata, on Japanese pol- 
icy. i933 227 

Siam, population density, 209 
Siberia, Eastern, seized by Japan, 

213, 287 

Siberia, invasion of, 140 
Silesia, Upper, 292 
Silver Purchase Act, 1934, 224 
Simonds, Frank H., 172, 179 
on America in Pacific, 233 
on results of World War, 1931, 38 
Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John, at Geneva, 
on Japanese repudiation of 
Nine-Power Treaty, 219 
in Berlin with Hitler, 1935, 265 
in House of Commons on repu- 
diation of Washington Treaties, 


Sind Barrage, 199 
Singapore, naval base, 210 
Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, 1930, 97 
Smuts, General, declaration on fu- 
ture revision, 63 
on affiliations of British Domin- 
ions to America, 233 
on antagonisms of Far East, 2o8n 
on co-operation with U,S. against 
Japan, 226 

Plan for League of Nations, and 
Mandate proposals for Eastern 
Europe, 1918, 137 
Social Democracy, 49-51, 249, 330 
Socialism and Capitalism, 13 
division of world, 271 et seq. 
weakness of Labour Movement in 
Western Europe and America, 


world base of established, 35 
world organisation, future, 353 
Somaliland, British imperialism in, 

182, 245-6 
South America, and Anglo-American 

antagonism, 229 
Monroe Doctrine, 33 
national liberation movements, 


revolutionary movements in, 14 
U.S. exploitation for rubber, 199 

South Tyrol, 244 

Soviet Union, and Collective Secur- 

ity, 163 

and Colonial policy, 189-90 
and Communist International, 309 
and Disarmament, 182*1, 312-13 
and Disarmament Conference, 

1927* 65 

and Eastern European Pact, 158 
and economic crisis, 8471 
and German-Polish Treaty, 264, 


and Great Britian, 1922, 63 
and Italo-Abyssinian War, 147-8 
and Japan, 1934, 297 
and Kellogg Pact, 311 
and League of Nations, 76 
and revisionism, 179, 241 
and small countries, 329 
and World, 271 et seq. 
antagonism to, used by Japan in 

Far East, 220 
British and American exports to, 

INDEX 383 

consequence of establishment of, 


defensive armament, 170 
definition of aggressor, 311 
effect of entry into League, 147 

ctseq. f 165 
entry into League, 1934, 74, 264, 


establishment and strength of, 13 
excluded from original League of 

Nations, 136 
excluded from Pan-Europe, 1926, 

completion of Five Years Plan, 
1932, 73 

foreign policy of, 1935, 315 
German policy towards, 1936, 253 
imperialist antagonism to, 48, 205, 

273, 285 et seq. 
in German war plan, 267, 286 
in Japanese Pan- Asian Plan, 1927, 

increased armaments expenditure, 

1934-6, 19 
increased production, 1929-34, 71- 

* 95 

industrial expansion, 27 
industrial output, 1928-32, 279 
industrial production, 1933, 278 
invited to League, 141 
menaced by Japan and Germany, 


Mutual Assistance Pacts, 1935, 314 
New Economic Policy, 1921, 275 
non-aggression treaty with France, 

1928, 290 

Note to U.S.A., 1920, 307 
Pact with France. See Franco- 

Soviet Pact 

Peace Policy of, 178, 305 et seq. 
policy in joining League, 314-15 
Rapallo Treaty, 1922, 241 ' 
recognised by America, 1933, 224 
threatened by Japan, 206 
Treaties with neighbouring States, 


Treaty with Germany, 63-4 
Trial of engineers, 1932, 286 

384 INDEX 

victory of Communism, 44 
views on League of Nations, 1933, 


wages in, 278 
Spain, British and American exports 

to, 1930, 195 

revolution, 1931, 1936, 13, 53 
struggles against Fascism, 1934, 74 
Sprague, O. M. W., on capitalism's 

need for planning, 283 
Stabilisation, British conditions for, 

economic, 12 

failure of, 77 

in Far East, 213 

period of temporary, 1924-9, 64 

et seq. 

Stakhanov Movement, 282, 284 
Stalin, and Five Year Plan, 278 

on foreign policy of Soviet, 1935, 

on myth of export of revolution, 


on Second Five Year Plan, 284 
warning against attack on Outer 

Mongolia, 225 

Stalingrad, tractor works of, 278 
State capitalism, 26 
State, forms of, 1936, 36 
State sovereignty, 29, 118-22, 131 
Statute of Westminster, 232, 236 
Steed, Wickham, on Anglo-Japanese 

conflict, 223 
on Anglo-Soviet antagonism, 1929, 

Steel, production in U.S.A. and Ger- 
many, 1922-9, 95 

Steel Cartel, European, 1926, 65 

Sterling bloc, 106 

Stevenson Restriction Scheme (Rub- 
ber), 199 

Stimson, U.S. Secretary of State, on 
Japanese invasion of China, 
i932 153* 218 

Strakosch, Sir Henry, on economic 
crisis, 84^ 

Stresa Conference, 1935, 1 5^ 

and German Military Law, 265 
Stresemann, conversations with 

Briand, Thoiry, 1926, 155 
co-operation with France at 

Thoiry, 1926, 290 
"European," 65 
demand for German colonies, 

1928, 291 

Grand Coalition, 52 
on Germany's entry into League, 


Studnicki, Wladimir, on Poland's 
political aims, 1935, 294 

Sudan, and Italy, 1935-6, 245 
cotton growing, 199 

Suez Canal, and I talo- Abyssinian 
War, 147-8 

Summa Contra Gentiles, by St. 
Thomas Aquinas, 119 

Sweden and Norway, 1905, 242 

Sweden, British and American ex- 
ports to, 1930, 195 
pro-Nazi, 268 

Switzerland, in German war plan, 

Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916, 243 

Syria, colonial struggles, 1925, 53 

Szechwan, base of Soviet China, 228 

TANAKA, BARON, on Japanese world 
conquest, 221, 347 

Tana, Lake, Italian and British in- 
terests, 245 

Tannery, meeting with Schacht and 
Norman, 1935, 294 

Tardieu, and Hitler, 262 
on revision of treaties, 1930, 242-3 

Tariffs, average levels and increases, 

97 et seq. 
Dominion, 238-9 

Terrorism, in Soviet, encouraged 
from London and Paris, 48 

The Ascendancy of the Dollar, 1929, 

The Balance of International Pay- 
ments of the U.S. in 1928, 69 

INDEX 385 

The Balance^ of the Continents, by The Working of the Minorities Sys- 

M. H. Corndjo, 129 

The Coming War in 1914 and the 
Coming War in 1954, by Fran- 
cis Delaisi, 303 

The Duty of Empire, by Leonard 
Barnes, 193 

The Economics of Re-armament, by 
Paul Einsig, 111 

The Forward View, by L. S. Amery, 

The Future of Colonies, by Leonard 
Barnes, 196-7 

The Great Illusion, by Norman An- 
gell, 12572 

The Great Powers in World Politics, 
by F. H. Simonds and Brooks 
Emeny, 172 

The Imperial Organisation of Trade, 
by G. Drage, 237 

The Intelligent Man's Way to Pre- 
vent War, by L. S. Woolf, 23, 


The Intimate Papers of Colonel 
House, 61 

The Iron Age, 66 

The League of Nations and the Rule 
of Law, 1918-35, by Professor 
Alfred Zimmern, 132-3 

The Means to Prosperity, by J. M. 
Keynes, no 

The Military Significance of the 
National Socialist Revolution, 
by Major Jost, 323-4 

The New Balance of Power in Eu- 
rope, by de Balla, 60, 179, 242 

The Prince, by Macchiavelli, 120 

The Rise of Gladstone to the Lead- 
ership of the Liberal Party, by 
W. E. Williams, 86 

The Second World War, 318 

The Soviets in World Affairs, by 
Louis Fischer, 47 

The United States and Great Britain 
(Chicago Council of Foreign 
Relations), 92 

tern under the League of Na- 
tions, by J. S. Roucek, 60 

The Years of the Locust, by Gilbert 
Seldes, 94 

Thiers, co-operation with Bismark, 

This Economic World, by Professor 

N. Carver, 66 

Thoiry, conversations of Briand and 

Stresemann, 1926, 65, 155, 290 

Thomas, Albert, Social-Democrat, 51 

Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H., Social- 

Democrat, 52 

on "re-distribution," 1936, 201 
Thuringia, suppression of Workers' 

Governments, 1923, 53 
Tibet, British imperialism in, 182 
Times, The, on Anglo-Japanese 

friendship, 1928, 216 
on British aims for Germany, 263 
on colonial problem, 1935, 186-7 
on German-Japanese relations, 

i934> 295 
on German war organisation, 1936, 


on Pan-Europe project, 156-7 
on recovery and rearmament 112 
on revolution, 1923, 52 
on "re-distribution," 1936, 200 
on Rominter meeting, 296 
on Soviet Union, 1919, 273 
on Soviet's anxiety for peace, 310 
on Sterling bloc, 1932, 106 
on the Treaty of Versailles, 6ora 
on trade with Russia (Soviet), 

Totalitarian War (Der Totale 

Krieg), by Ludendorff, 23 
Toynbee, Professor Arnold, on fu- 

ture World State, 343 
Trades Union Congress, 187-8 
Treaty of Guarantee, proposal by 

Wilson, 151 

Treaty of Military Guarantee, 58 
Treaty of Non-Agression of Soviet 

Union, 157 

386 INDEX 

Triple Alliance, 19 
Triple Entente, 19 
Tripoli, Italian war in, 32 
Trusts and Cartels, system of, 

Turkey, and British search for oil, 

excluded from original League, 


French support for, 63 
German approaches, 1934, 297 
mission to Moscow, 1934, 297 
nationalism and Soviet, 331 
non-aggression pact, 1933, 312 
Smuts' mandate proposals, 1918, 


Soviet Treaty with, 1921, 311 
Treaty of Non- Aggression, 1929, 


Treaty with France, 1921, 63 
Turkish Empire, and Italy, 34 
partition of, 33 

UGANDA, cotton growing, 199 
Ukraine, and Hitler's plans, 298 
and European progress, 293 
in Goering war plan, 267 
project for partition of, 293 
spoliation of, 264 
Ultra-imperialism, theory of, 67, 

88-91, g8n, 124-8, 134, 342-8 
Unemployment 1929-32, 36, 72 
Unilever, 26 

United Front, 13, 37, 330, 333 
United Kingdom. See Great Britain. 
United States of America, aims of 

and original League, 142 
and Anglo-French proposals for 
inter-allied economic organisa- 
tion, 134 
and Britain. See Anglo-American 


and conflict with Japan, 223 
and dissolution of Anglo-Japanese 

alliance, 213 

and future of British Empire, 229 
et seq. 

and Japanese invasion of China, 

and Japanese repudiation of Nine- 
Power Treaty, 218 

and Kellogg Pact, 151-2 

and Monroe doctrine, 33 

and Ottawa agreements, 239 

and Pan-Europe, 1926, 155 

and repudiation of Washington 
Treaties, 216 et seq. 

and Soviet Union, 48, 224, 273 

and Second World War, 318 

and Treaty of Versailles, 57 

and War Debts, 64 

and world domination, 346-7 

and World War, 42 

antagonisms in Pacific, 20, 208 
et seq. 

area and population density, 209 

capacity for production, 95-6 

capital and credits in post-war 
Germany, 65 

Currency war with Great Britain, 
100 et seq. 

Disarmament proposals, 1932, 313 

effects of her creditor position, 89 

exports, 1913-34. 75 

exports and imports to British 
Empire, 1913-29, 234 

exports compared with British 
(table), 195 

exports to China, 1913-25, 213 

financial penetration of British 
Empire, 232 

foreign investments, 1925-8, 69, 

in Japanese World Conquest plan, 
1927, 221 

increased armaments expenditure, 
19*3-30, 1933-6* 18, 19 

industrial production, 1913-32, 27, 
65-6, 278, 279 

naval questions and Japanese ag- 
gression, 223-4 

New Deal, 1933, 74 

offer of Treaty of Military Guar- 
antee, 58 

post-war creditor, 68 

pressure on Japan after war, 213 

pre-war trade with China, 211 

rearmament, 170 

repudiation of League, 150 

repudiation of President Wilson, 


"satiation" theory, 172, 176 
strength of, 54-5 
tariff increases, 97 
under London Naval Treaty, 1936, 

76-7> 215 
unused productive capacity, 1935, 


withdrawal from League, 143-4 
world's greatest investor, 1925-30, 


United States of Europe. See Pan- 

United States Steel Corporation, 26 
United States Steel Trust, 127 
Ural-Kuznetsk, Steel works of, 278 
U.S.S.R. See Soviet Union. 

gium), 268 

and Ribbentrop, 1935, 296-7 
Venice, meeting of Hitler and Mus- 
solini, 1934, 244 

Versailles, Treaty of, 12, 56 et seq. 
and League, 135 
failure of, 60, 74 
outcome of, 44 
Vickers, and Bankers' Manifesto, 

1926, 98 

and German rearmament, 262 
value of shares, 1936, 113 
Vickers-Armstrong, capital of, 26 

net profits, 1933-5* "4 
Vienna, rising of 1927, 53 
Villard, O. Garrison, correspondent 

of H. Hoover, 47 
von Blomberg, General, German 

Minister for War, 324 
von Maltzahn, Baron, and Rapallo 

Treaty, 288 
von Ribbentrop, and Conference of 

INDEX 387 

Japanese attaches, 1935, 296 
at Rominter meeting, 296 
visit to van Zeeland, 1935, 296-7 
von Tirpitz, supremacy of, 41 

WAGES in U.S.S.R., 278 
War, against Soviet, 47 
and Dominions, 236 
and Rearmament, Economics of 

107 et seq. 

battlegrounds of future, 205 
Debts, 12, 64, 84, 105 

and reparations, 69, 75 

suspended, 1931, 73 
efforts to arrest since 1918, 20 
Fascist glorification of, 23, 167 
ideal of, Mein Kampf (1936), 251-2 
justified by Germany, 324 
localised, Hitler's principle of, 160, 

menace of in 1936, 12-14, 317 et 

modern, dependence on masses, 

no declaration of, after Kellogg 

Pact, 153 

"of defence" and Kellogg Pact, 153 
prevention of and "collective se- 
curity," 166-7 
private, and League, 165 
private under Covenant of League, 

151* *43 

renunciation of Kellogg Pact, 151 
totalitarian, 107-8 
War and Western Civilisation, by J. 

F. C. Fuller, $zn 
Ward, Arnold (of Barbados), on 

Colonial re-distribution, 189 
Warsaw, Red Army at gates, 1920, 48, 

Washington, post-war importance of, 


Washington agreements, 12 
Washington Conference, 1921, 62 

and Far East, 2o8n, 213 
Washington "limitation" Treaty, 18, 


Washington Naval Treaty, denounc- 
ed by Japan, 1934, 214 
repudiated by Japan, 1935, 74 
Washington Nine-Power Treaty, 151, 
and China, 213 
breakdown of, 154, 216-17 
Washington Nine-Power Treaty 

broken by Japan, 1931, 73 
repudiated by Japan, 1934* 217 
Washington Treaties, failure of, 76 
Wei-hai-wei, leased by Great Brit- 
ain, 212 
Weimar-Republic, establishment of, 


Wellesley general purposes aero- 
plane, 15 
Wells, H. G., 84^ 
on "Holy War" of 1914, 122-3 
on "world consortium," 184 
on "World State," 122 
Westminster Bank Review on Soviet 

industrialism, 279 
Wheat, Empire supplies, 238 
world production (excluding Rus- 
sia), 1909-28, 28 

"Wheat Studies" (Food Research 
Institute, Stanford University), 

"White Man's Burden," 190 
Why War? Labour College publica- 
tion, i82n, 318 
Wilhelm, Crown Prince of Germany, 

-Williams, W. E., author of The Rise 

of Gladstone, 86 

Wilson, Sir Henry, on lack of dis- 
cipline in troops, 1919, 48 
Wilson, President Woodrow, and 

American post-war aims, 57 
and Communism, 1917, 137 
and Lloyd George on naval 

building, 1919, 61-2 
and new world order, 122 
and proposals to guarantee no 
distinction of race under Lea- 
gue, 137 

Chicherin on, 139-40 
his stand in 1918, 43 et seq, 
on alliances outside League, 150. 
on Germany and France, 1923, 4472 
on international outlook, 1918, 38 
on poison of Bolshevism, 1919, 47 
Peace Note, December 1916, 41 
"Peace without Victory" speech, 

January 1917, 41 
reversal of policy, 1917, 42, 122 
Wilson and World Settlement, by R. 

Stannard Baker, 47 
Winkler, Dr. Max, on American in- 
vestments abroad, 1929, 103 
Wirth, Chancellor, and Rapallo 

Treaty, 288 

Wool, Empire supplies, 238 
Woolf, L. S., on present-day civilisa- 
tion, 23 
on ordered society of nations, 1933, 

World Communism, ultimate victory 

of, 44, 350 et seq. 

World Court of International Jus- 
tice, 167 
World division, between Capitalism 

and Socialism, 36, 271 
World, divisions of, into States, etc., 

World domination, American aims, 


British aims, 346 

German aims, 203, 255, 345-6 

Japanese aims, 221, 347 
World Economic Conference, Gen- 
eva, 1927. See Geneva Confer- 

World Economic Conference, 1933, 
20, 74* 94 10 5 185 

Preparatory Committee, 96 

Reports of, 8 in, 81-2 

Soviet Union at, 311 
World economic crisis, 27, 35, 71-2, 
82 et seq. 

blow to capitalism, 78 

and international capitalism, 92 

and League of Nations, 145 

and revisionist expansion, 244 
as crisis of overproduction, 28 
effects of, 109 
effects in Far East, 216 
effect on tariffs, 97 
foundation laid, 1923, 52 
new situation resulting from, 36 
rival theories of, 83 et seq. 
World economic disorganization, 29 
World exports, 1929-34, 99 
World federation, incompatible with 

private property, 344 
World industrial output, 279 
World organization, attempts at, 16- 

17, 115 et seq. 

necessity for recognised, 350-1 
World "over-population," 28 
World Pacts and Regional Pacts, 150 
World politics, central problem of, 

16 et seq., 25 
subject matter and problems of, 

15 et seq. 

World Politics in Modern Civilisa- 
tion, by H. E. Barnes, 4471 
World population and world pro- 
duction, 27 et seq. 
World production, 1925-32, 65-6, 


and world expenditure on arma- 
ments, 18 

and world population, 27 et seq. 
index, 1936, 85 
industrial, 1913-28, 27 
possibilities of expansion, 94 
unused capacity, 1935, 96 
World Production and Prices, 1925- 

32, 7* 
World re-division, capitalist conflict 

for, 26, 33, 35-6, 170-203, 327 
World revolution, 35, 42, 46, 52-3, 

World situation, 1914 and 1936, 12- 

13, 322 **eg. 

after Versailles, 43 et seq., 61 
and Soviet Union, 271 et seq. 
and world antagonisms, 21 
characteristic features of, 1936, 36 

INDEX 389 

since 1914, 11 et seq., 320 et seq. 
World society, future, 341 et seq. 
World State, abstract conception of, 


H. G. Wells' conception of, 123 
impossible under Imperialism, 125 
Professor Arnold Toynbee on, 343 
question of, 116 et seq. 
World trade, 1929-32, 72 
growth of, 1925-9, 65 
index, 1936, 85 

World Union of Socialist Soviet Re- 
publics, 351, 354 
World unity, and world antagonism, 

25 et seq. 

World War, 1914-1918, character- 
istics, 38-42, 322 
end by revolution, 41-2 
historical r61e, 34-5, 320-1 
origin, 38-9 

post-war settlements, 56 et seq. 
Power relations, 54 et seq. 
World War, future, importance of 

delaying outbreak of, 340-1 
menace of, 317 et seq. 
World Wheat Conference, 1931, 280 

YEMEN, 246 

York, Archbishop of, on "re-distribu- 
tion," 187 
York, Duke of, on Anglo-Japanese 

friendship, 1925, 215 
Young Plan and Report, 65, 90 
Yudenitch, 273 

Yugoslavia, alliance with Czecho- 
slovakia and Rumania, 1921, 60 
alliance with France, 1927, 60 
and post-war Balance, 242 
and revisionism, 268 
national majority and minorities, 

non-aggression pacts, 1933, 312 

jects of League, 132-4, 137 
"Zinoviev letter," 286 
Zum Ewigen Frieden, by Kant, 117